Home > Rights > Your Rights Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

Your Rights Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Access To Neighbouring Land Act Access

For the most part, you should rarely have to concern yourself with this Act if you have a decent relationship with your neighbours. From time to time, each and every one of us will have to repair or replace things on our property which might require ourselves or workers carrying out work on our behalf to gain access to our neighbour’s land in order to resolve the problem.

Generally, it’s a simple matter of letting your neighbour know what work you’re intending to carry out and to ask their permission if you can Gain Access Their Land and in order to conduct the work and to arrange a suitable time. Nevertheless, disputes can arise or you might just not get on with your neighbour, and both of these issues can make it difficult to carry out the work.

However, the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 can facilitate matters in some cases, if you need to resort to a more formal solution. Therefore, it’s good to know your rights with regard to this matter, what the Act covers and, often more crucially, what it doesn’t.

Your Rights

In order to grant an access order the court must be convinced that the reasons you need to gain access to a neighbour’s land, if they have been flatly refused permission, are valid as contained within the Act. Valid reasons for granting an access order would include:

  • The maintenance, renovation or repair of a property (or parts of it) in order to preserve it
  • The clearing or repair of any sewers, drains, cables or pipes
  • The removal or filling in of a ditch
  • The felling of a tree, plant or hedge (or parts of it) which have died, become diseased or which have become insecurely rooted and unstable which is likely to pose a danger

The basic interpretation of the law here is that the work must relate to the ‘preservation’ of an existing structure as opposed to granting permission to gain access to a neighbour’s land in order to make it easier to construct a new development, such as a new conservatory or extension.

Therefore, even if you have been granted planning permission for a ‘new build’, this does NOT mean that you can automatically gain access to a neighbour’s land if parts of the work need to be carried out from their side of the Boundary Line. That is not covered by the Act and any such work in this instance would have to be agreed to by both you and your neighbours themselves.

Exceptions To Granting Access

In some cases, the courts can refuse to grant an access order if they decide that in doing so, it could cause severe hardship to your neighbour or land owner, or that it would significantly reduce their capacity for enjoying their own land.

If an access order is agreed to by the courts, it must then specify exactly the work which needs to be carried out, the date work will commence and the date it must be completed by. Obviously, if the date is not suitable to your neighbour, they can request an alternative date. It would also be your responsibility to pay any compensation to the landowner, i.e. your neighbour, should they incur any financial loss, or put right any incidental damage that might result to their land or property as a result of the work you’re having carried out.

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We live in terraced house we have covenant in deeds saying if we give notice to neighbors re maintenance on my property we can go on neighbors land to do so my previous neighbors never refused but new neighbors have said no if we do they will call police I cannot afford a solicitor what can I do ?
June07 - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:49 AM
I am I’ve been living in the property for the last 18 months I am planning permission but my neighbour will let me have access to his property so I can get this electricity Western Power have said they can come over top on the Neath he’s Already got a pole in his garden it’s only going to come 3 m I have asked him a few times and he’s not interested at all I have explained we are trying with that young family so I need advice would be good
Rosie - 19-Jul-18 @ 8:02 PM
Neighbours need to erect scaffolding on our land to carry out building repairs to their property.Can we request compensation as access to our garden will be restricted- scaffolding willbe outside our kitchen door.
Hetty - 18-Jul-18 @ 9:20 AM
Hi I live in a house with shared access, my gable end butts up to the neighbors garden, My roof needs attention and at the same time I want UPVC facia’s sofffits and new guttering and down pipes, I am in my sixtys so this just makes sense and no maintenance. My roofer went to see my neighbor to explain what I was having done and asked if it would be possible to erect some scaffolding in her garden. at this point she said it wasn’t a problem, however after speaking to her son she came round to my house and said she doesn’t want the scaffolding as she had raised flower beds. This is now going to cause problems for the roofers unless the scaffold company can do a bridge high up which will double the cost of my scaffolding. What are my rights in this case
Jessie - 17-Jul-18 @ 4:48 PM
I need access just over my neighbours boundaryline with a ladder to point the table end. My neighbour refuses and will not answer door. What can I do??
C - 11-Jul-18 @ 12:25 PM
For the purpose of building an extension on our terrace house, we had a verbal agreement with our neighbour for access over a piece of rough land that our neighbour owns. It is a small strip of wasteland, was piled high with rubbish which we had to clear and dispose of before we could even start work. After being upset by the upheavel of building works that we’re carrying out, our neighbour has written to us to withdraw the permission for access on the strip of land with just 7 days notice, even though we are only 6 weeks into our 10 week project. This leaves us in a very difficult position. Being a terraced house we have no other way to bring materials in or to take out waste materials. Please can you give advice, what options are available to us for retaining continued access until the end of the project?
Catkins - 10-Jul-18 @ 10:04 PM
Hello Sir, Good afternoon This is Abbas from DC. Sir I wana get an advice regarding non-cooperation of my neighbor. Problem is that water is coming into my basement from neighbor's house. She isn't giving us access to her house. Where should we file a complaint against her ? Your response wil be highly appreciated. Thanks
Huss - 7-Jul-18 @ 8:10 PM
Neighbours intend to put up extension, first I heard was from the council who provided me with a copy of the plans and asked if I had any objections. I replied I had no objection in principle to the finished extension but would have objections if they required access trough my drive and garden. The neighbours are in terrace and have walking access through my land for their bins but no vehicle access. This was in March no further contact other than letter from council to say the plans had been approved and that it was the responsibility of the neighbour to arrange / negotiate access. On Saturday they told me I would not be able to park in my drive for 12 weeks as they need access for a digger and build supplies. I checked deeds access is via “footpath” so have informed them I am not moving my car and they wanted to knock down my fence and gate - informed them this would be criminal damage as no permission to do this. Neighbours from hell! Anybody with a brain would have negotiated access at the planning stage I am not unreasonable but they are taking liberties!
Blue - 6-Jul-18 @ 1:15 PM
Buddliea - Your Question:
Our extension wall on the side is now in line with the boundary fence due to disputes with a previous owner, we now have new neivhboursWe would like to access our wall for maintenance of the wall, guttering and roofMy neighbour says no and says she will do it herself Do we have any rights?Thanks

Our Response:
We actually don't know what the position is here; a neighbour offering to undertake the maintenance is not something we've come across. You may have to seek advice from a legal professional specialising in property issues.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-18 @ 12:05 PM
The side and back of our neighbours garage is completely located in our back garden, the paintwork around the eaves and guttering was rotton and faded, so we painted with the original colour to protect and preserve, the neighbours are now seeking legal action, are we in the wrong? they do not have access to our land to maintain it themselves, and only last year they painted the eaves of the garage on there side of the boundary fence and did not ask if they could come on to our side and maintain their garage, therefore i was in the position where their garage was making my garden look untitdy because of the rotton paintwork.
mark - 5-Jul-18 @ 8:10 AM
Bob - Your Question:
Hello, my neighbor constantly requesting access to carry out non urgent work on their property. We have always allowed immediate access to facilitate the work bearing in mind we were never told the nature of the work that will take place. Recently we have been demanding minimum of five working days notice for non urgent work in order to allow us to get on with our appointments, work or whatever are our plans. The neighbors started to get unhappy with our request and being rude.My question is there a time limit to grant such above requests. If the work is urgent we will do our best to grant immediate access but it is not.Your advice would be highly appreciated.Yours sincerely

Our Response:
No there are no set time limits, but your neighbour is expected to access your property at time convenient to you. We think asking for 5 days' notice seems reasonable except if there is an emergency of course.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Jul-18 @ 3:18 PM
Hello, my neighbor constantly requesting access to carry out non urgent work on their property. We have always allowed immediate access to facilitate the work bearing in mind we were never told the nature of the work that will take place. Recently we have been demanding minimum of five working days notice for non urgent work in order to allow us to get on with our appointments, work or whatever are our plans. The neighbors started to get unhappy with our request and being rude. My question is there a time limit to grant such above requests. If the work is urgent we will do our best to grant immediate access but it is not. Your advice would be highly appreciated. Yours sincerely
Bob - 3-Jul-18 @ 11:06 PM
Our extension wall on the side is now in line with the boundary fence due to disputes with a previous owner, we now have new neivhbours We would like to access our wall for maintenance of the wall, guttering and roof My neighbour says no and says she will do it herself Do we have any rights? Thanks
Buddliea - 2-Jul-18 @ 8:01 AM
Dok - Your Question:
We live in a terraced Mews house which backs onto the yard/garden of 2 properties behind. One of these properties has 2 large trees growing. The smaller of the 2 large trees has it branches and leaves pressing and scraping against 50% of the 1st floor window. The beaches are also pressed against the outside of our rear wall. We have no access to the rear of our property without the cooperation of our neighbour to the rear. Unfortunately the neighbour refuses to cut back the tree that is touching our house. The neighbour is unhappy that our house was refurbuished and extended despite the fact that all works were in accordance with planning laws and building control and have been fully signed off. What options do I have to get the branches cut back? I contacted the local council and they have informed me that it is not a council matter but a private issue between neighbours. Any advice would be overmuch appreciated. Thanks Dok

Our Response:
The council is correct. This is a private matter between you. If your neighbours trees are causing damage and you cannot access the trees to cut them back you may have to seek help via a mediator or the legal system to find a resolution. The access to neighbouring property is certainly for essential maintenance and repairs but if your property has been extended to the extent that you cannot access the rear of your property, we don't know how a judge will view it.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Jun-18 @ 12:02 PM
We live in a terraced Mews house which backs onto the yard/garden of 2 properties behind. One of these properties has 2 large trees growing. The smaller of the 2 large trees has it branches and leaves pressing and scraping against 50% of the 1st floor window. The beaches are also pressed against the outside of our rear wall. We have no access to the rear of our property without the cooperation of our neighbour to the rear. Unfortunately the neighbour refuses to cut back the tree that is touching our house. The neighbour is unhappy that our house was refurbuished and extended despite the fact that all works were in accordance with planning laws and building control and have been fully signed off. What options do i have to get the branches cut back? I contacted the local council and they have informed me that it is not a council matter but a private issue between neighbours. Any advice would be overmuch appreciated. Thanks Dok
Dok - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:36 PM
MissP - Your Question:
Our neighbour has attached her rainwater guttering to our drain down pipes without our permission and knowledge. We were only made aware of this by a chartered surveyor who said this was a Trespass. As we are trying to sell the house we removed the pipes and returned these to her by placing them in her garden. Unfortunately the situation with this neighbour means we cannot communicate with her as she is so abusive and aggresive and has been harrassing us for over 18 months. She has now contacted the police and we are being asked to attend an interview under caution for criminal damage. Surely it is criminal damage to make alterations to our property without our permission and we have a right to return our property to the original state? Any advice please.

Our Response:
Negotiating with the neighbour would have been a more sensible approach. Have you checked that the down pipe is not actually shared etc?
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Jun-18 @ 11:25 AM
Our neighbour has attached her rainwater guttering to our drain down pipes without our permission and knowledge.We were only made aware of this by a chartered surveyor who said this was a Trespass.As we are trying to sell the house we removed the pipes and returned these to her by placing them in her garden.Unfortunately the situation with this neighbour means we cannot communicate with heras she is so abusive and aggresive and has been harrassing us for over 18 months.She has now contacted the police and we are being asked to attend an interview under caution for criminal damage.Surely it is criminal damage to make alterations to our property without our permission and we have a right to return our property to the original state?Any advice please.
MissP - 26-Jun-18 @ 1:30 PM
Jellybelly - Your Question:
I own mid terrace house which has right of access with a council house. New tenants have obstructed access path with bin. Council says they have nowhere to put it but I disagree. Is it against law to obstruct this access? Should council have to make space for bin? My previous neighbour kept extra bin at garage.

Our Response:
Is the right of access written into your deeds? If so you can enforce this legally especially if the previous neighbours didn't need to keep their bin in that location.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Jun-18 @ 1:40 PM
I own mid terrace house which has right of access with a council house. New tenants have obstructed access path with bin. Council says they have nowhere to put it but I disagree. Is it against law to obstruct this access? Should council have to make space for bin? My previous neighbour kept extra bin at garage.
Jellybelly - 22-Jun-18 @ 4:13 PM
I have lived in my bungalow for 16 years.3 years ago I got a new neighbour which re did there garden.Since then I have had damp on my back wall where they have put up a fence.Within 2 years my back wall in one corner had wallpaper coming of off it up to the fence level.There used to be Trelis there allowing my wall to breath.Netherless I would like to look at my wall to see what needs to be done.My neighbour is allowing my 1 appointment a week just to look at it,I am not expecting him to pay but I need to see as I think the rendering has got to wet due to wood and rubbish being left when he put his fence up.
Boo - 20-Jun-18 @ 8:23 PM
My deeds state we have like rights of access over my neighbours land for the purpose of light, water etc....We have replaced our old broken fence and put a gate in at the far end leading to his land as he moved some years ago and padlocked the wooden gate across the access path. My neighbour has always been accommodating if we needed access and even gave a 'one off' permission to exercise our dog.However, now it is being insisted that we remove the gate and replace with solid panel as "we have no right of way" (which we have never claimed to have nor have we actually used the gate.) Is our neighbour's demand valid and should we comply?
Marge - 20-Jun-18 @ 5:25 PM
Kimmy - Your Question:
I’m a council tenant of a block of three houses and my next door neighbour own and lives in the middle one, they have built a patio & wall on their access path the other side and are now complaining to the council that we are blocking their access rights on our garden , the council have told us to remove the table blocking the path and lock on the gate what are out legal rights

Our Response:
If your neighbours have access rights on your garden (it may be written into their deeds if they are owners), then those rights remain until a court order (or possibly the council if it's an ex council property) removes them. You will therefore have to continue allowing access. It's worth asking the council whether they are willing to help with a solution if the neighbours do in fact have alternative access.
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Jun-18 @ 2:24 PM
I’m a council tenant of a block of three houses and my next door neighbour own and lives in the middle one, they have built a patio & wall on their access path the other side and are now complaining to the council that we are blocking their access rights on our garden , the council have told us to remove the table blocking the path and lock on the gate what are out legal rights
Kimmy - 16-Jun-18 @ 9:13 AM
Andrew - Your Question:
My neighbours have a right of way on a footpath which I own. Can I legally expect them to contribute towards the maintenance or to help keep it clear by sweeping it or removing weeds?Also do they have the right to stop and linger to talk to neighbours on the footpath. The actual title register does not indicate who is responsible for maintaining the path. One neighbour does nothing and only makes demands to me.

Our Response:
Do you have anything in your deeds that refers to repair/maintenance of the footpath? If not, here's what Jon Maynard boundary expert, says:
If the right of way falls into disrepair, and if no-one can be identified as the party responsible for maintenance and if the owner of the servient tenement does not repair it, then the owner of the dominant tenement (who is inconvenienced by the poor condition of the way) may repair the way but must be careful not to improve the way (for it is not his land to develop). Thus a gravel drive may be re-graveled by the owner of the dominant tenement but he must not improve it by concreting or tarmaccing the surface.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Jun-18 @ 2:35 PM
Maz - Your Question:
My neighbours, who have caused trouble over the last ten years, to the point I have had to call the police to them. Have just cut my hedgerow back without permission, they have cut it back a foot back from my boundary fence. The hedgerow is 450yards long and is a also a home for nesting birds. I know this is criminal damge to property and also a wildlife crime. But I am not sure how to proceed, any advice?

Our Response:
If it's damaged the hedge beyond repair you can seek action for damages via the courts - a solicitor will be able to help. On the other hand, from the way have described it, your hedge was encroaching on your neighbour's garden and the neighbour was therefore entitled to cut the hedge, so it is the level of damage that's the question.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Jun-18 @ 12:27 PM
My adjoining neighbors are converting a 2 bedroom bungalow into a 5 bedroom house. We had a party wall agreement that only applies to the steel beams being fitted. My property has been excessively damage due to the whole build and they won’t pay for the damages, as of today they need to gain access to my side of the roof to install a section of the roof and upper extension that they have just built.Are the builders allowed to access my side of the roof without permission or do they need my permission, and can I decline them access as they have already damaged my tiles.
Gazzer - 12-Jun-18 @ 6:09 PM
Miss RM - Your Question:
Hi,I would really appreciate your help! My neighbour asked permission to cut back branches on his property which I happily gave and always do, I have also hired a gardener in the past to cut it back at his request. My tenants returned home and he had cut down a bay leaf tree and another tree without permission. I am very upset about this.The police are coming on Tuesday to discuss and see the damage but what are my rights and can my neighbour be charged e.g. criminal damage (I have ongoing battles with his grown up children-throwing dirty nappies over my fence etc and this is the last straw).I am a leaseholder/home owner and they are council tenants so I will also inform the council also but any advice of how to escalate this would be really useful to explore with the law and the council.I will be travelling again in August and need to know how far I can take this.Appreciate any advice you can provide- I am at my wits end.

Our Response:
You may be able to sue for the damage done to your property via the civil courts. Speak with a legal professional for advice on this if you need to.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Jun-18 @ 2:48 PM
Neighbour would let take the wall down then called the police when at work so lost more of our land can we get it back.fencer went round as she is so hobbile
Benny - 10-Jun-18 @ 7:58 PM
My neighbours have a right of way on a footpath which I own. Can I legally expect them to contribute towards the maintenance or to help keep it clear by sweeping it or removing weeds? Also do they have the right to stop and linger to talk to neighbours on the footpath. The actual title register does not indicate who is responsible for maintaining the path. One neighbour does nothing and only makes demands to me.
Andrew - 9-Jun-18 @ 8:06 PM
My neighbours, who have caused trouble over the last ten years, to the point I have had to call the police to them. Have just cut my hedgerow back without permission, they have cut it back a foot back from my boundary fence. The hedgerow is 450yards long and is a also a home for nesting birds. I know this is criminal damge to property and also a wildlife crime. But i am not sure how to proceed, any advice?
Maz - 9-Jun-18 @ 2:42 PM
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