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Your Rights Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Dec 2017 | 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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Hi, my neighbour had a new roof fitted and I did allow the scafolders and the roofer to go through my garden which is paved. There seems to be no access as we live in terraced houses. However the Scafolders whilst climbing over my dividing wall scuffed the masonry paint on my side of the wall. I asked them to just provide me with some paint and they refused saying it was the roofers that had to provide access and he would come and see me about the damage. I said ok but until he resolves the matter you have no accesss. He has not come. I called the scaffolding firm and they basically told me i am at fault. The scaffolding is still up. I had been neighbourly but due to the attitude of the Both the roofer and the scaffolders we are at a stale mate. Am I at fault?
Sah1973 - 16-Dec-17 @ 8:45 PM
We have a long driveway which we own but access is shared with two other properties to the right of ours. There is also a public footpath along the driveway. We have new neighbours to the left who have caused a few issues with the location of the footpath (which has been there 20+ years) which has resulted in us moving it through our garden to avoid conflict. However now they are using our driveway to access their paddock at the back of their property without asking permission. We don’t want this to become a regular occurrence as they haven’t been overly cooperative and have blocked access to our house on several occasions now. I am pretty sure that we are legally in our right to deny access but how do we act upon this without causing anymore conflict?
Kate - 16-Dec-17 @ 4:09 PM
AMZI - Your Question:
My neighbour has erected a new pitched roof which is hanging over the boundary and preventing us from maintaining our fence panels in future. Where do we stand please?

Our Response:
Think of the solutions that you might want from this.If you want them to change the style of their roof or pay for you to have an alternative fence etc, you may have to take action via the civil court.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Dec-17 @ 10:33 AM
Afriendinneed - Your Question:
Hi,Our neighbour granted full access to their land for our extesnjon build. We are 3/4 done and they have withdrawn access accusing us of building on their land. We have had planning enforcement confirm there's no breach and a full impartial land survey report again showing we are within the boundary. Our neighbour won't accept any of this and want us to take the extension down. We need access to finish the roof at the boundary side. Meanwhile our house isn't fully wind and water tight. We are unable to live there and are in temp accommodation with our baby. We've tried speaking to them but they seem fixed on us pulling down what we have built as they think it's ugly. Even their lawyer has suggested they give us access. We live in a conservation areas and everyone had the right to object. We had no objections and have spent a lot of money and time making sure it's in keeping with the heritage of the area. Do we have any right to enter their land to finish given that they happily granted it in the first place? Thanks

Our Response:
Your solicitor should be able to advise you on this after seeing what kind of access your were granted in the first place etc. The right to access is usually only for essential repairs and maintenance, so this is more a question of what kind of agreement has taken place and whether it's been breached.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Dec-17 @ 2:28 PM
Hi, Our neighbour granted full access to their land for our extesnjon build. We are 3/4 done and they have withdrawn access accusing us of building on their land. We have had planning enforcement confirm there's no breach and a full impartial land survey report again showing we are within the boundary. Our neighbour won't accept any of this and want us to take the extension down. We need access to finish the roof at the boundary side. Meanwhile our house isn't fully wind and water tight. We are unable to live there and are in temp accommodation with our baby. We've tried speaking to them but they seem fixed on us pulling down what we have built as they think it's ugly. Even their lawyer has suggested they give us access. We live in a conservation areas and everyone had the right to object. We had no objections and have spent a lot of money and time making sure it's in keeping with the heritage of the area. Do we have any right to enter their land to finish given that they happily granted it in the first place? Thanks
Afriendinneed - 10-Dec-17 @ 8:27 PM
My neighbour has erected a new pitched roof which is hanging over the boundary and preventing us from maintaining our fence panels in future. Where do we stand please?
AMZI - 9-Dec-17 @ 9:54 AM
Jimm - Your Question:
We have a 1930s house with its original roof. Unfortunately in many areas we can see daylight through and the old mortar is crumbling away. In order to replace it we need access onto our neighbours drive to erect scaffolding to get the job done. They are refusing us access, is there anything we can do?

Our Response:
If access via your neighbour's property is essential and they are refusing, you can consider applying for to the courts for an access order.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Dec-17 @ 2:55 PM
We have a 1930s house with its original roof. Unfortunately in many areas we can see daylight through and the old mortar is crumbling away. In order to replace it we need access onto our neighbours drive to erect scaffolding to get the job done. They are refusing us access, is there anything we can do?
Jimm - 4-Dec-17 @ 7:21 PM
QUESTION I live in a very old terraced street, most properties are L shaped so have private unseen court yards to the rear. I have lived here for many years and have always known the next door neighbour has large lean-to sheds in her yard. I now have damp problems inside my house corresponding to the top roof line of her sheds and makes me realise the sheds have been actually physically attached to the outside wall of my house. The sheds are very old and built before me or my neighbours purchased our properties. Historically the 9” brick wall of my house, (no cavity), would have been an unhindered outside wall to the neighbours side and definitely not a party wall. Has whoever built these lean-to sheds trespassed on my property by attaching the top roof line directly to my house. I don’t know what to do, the neighbour is old and she thinks any walls inside her sheds including my wall to the top of her sheds is hers! Can anyone tell me the legality of this situation? Can I ask her to remove anything previous owners have attached to my outside wall?
OldJohn - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:37 PM
Danny - Your Question:
My neighbour has an existing hedge on his boundary of which when he bought the land from my father it was verbally agreed that the hedge would be kept to a height of 6ft6” he now wants to erect a close board fence on my side of his hedge and I have told him that I will not permit access to do this unless the hedge is topped to the agreed height.He has all the materials for the fence which were delivered yesterday he did not approach me prior to this to tell me his plans.Where do I stand on this?

Our Response:
Your neighbour cannot erect a fence on land that doesn't belong to him. You could consider a civil action if he does so.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Dec-17 @ 3:06 PM
QUESTION I live in a very old terraced street, most properties are L shaped so have private unseen court yards to the rear. I have lived here for many years and have always known the next door neighbour has large lean-to sheds in her yard. I now have damp problems inside my house corresponding to the top roof line of her sheds and makes me realise the sheds have been actually physically attached to the outside wall of my house. The sheds are very old and built before me or my neighbours purchased our properties. Historically the 9” brick wall of my house, (no cavity), would have been an unhindered outside wall to the neighbours side and definitely not a party wall. Has whoever built these lean-to sheds trespassed on my property by attaching the top roof line directly to my house. I don’t know what to do, the neighbour is old and she thinks any walls inside her sheds including my wall to the top of her sheds is hers! Can anyone tell me the legality of this situation? Can I ask her to remove anything previous owners have attached to my outside wall?
OldJohn - 1-Dec-17 @ 2:00 PM
My neighbour has an existing hedge on his boundary of which when he bought the land from my father it was verbally agreed that the hedge would be kept to a height of 6ft6” he now wants to erect a close board fence on my side of his hedge and I have told him that I will not permit access to do this unless the hedge is topped to the agreed height.He has all the materials for the fence which were delivered yesterday he did not approach me prior to this to tell me his plans.Where do I stand on this?
Danny - 30-Nov-17 @ 10:53 AM
CF - Your Question:
We recently have had our extension roof replaced as it had been leaking for some time. The wall of the extension is on the boundary line with our neighbours (extension was already there when we moved in). They also have an extension but this is not attached to ours. There is a small gap between their extension and ours which is on their property. Unfortunately the roofers came to do the roof when our neighbours were on holiday and although the roofers did not require to go on the neighbours property, the frame and roof felt did hang over on to their 'space' overnight until the next day when they came to tile it and trim back the frame and felt. The problem is that from the neighbours returning from their holiday at 9pm one evening to the roofers arriving at 8am the following morning the neighbour had been down his gap and cut some of the frame and split the felt so he could get his ladders down there to 'clear his gutters'. He is obviously just being awkward but I was wondering has he the right to damage our property given that it was overhanging on to his side?

Our Response:
He should really have contacted you out of courtesy. We're not sure who's liable in a case like this as noone actually accessed the neighbour's land. You might need to seek legal advice.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Nov-17 @ 10:45 AM
We recently have had our extension roof replaced as it had been leaking for some time. The wall of the extension is on the boundary line with our neighbours (extension was already there when we moved in). They also have an extension but this is not attached to ours. There is a small gap between their extension and ours which is on their property.Unfortunately the roofers came to do the roof when our neighbours were on holiday and although the roofers did not require to go on the neighbours property, the frame and roof felt did hang over on to their 'space' overnight until the next day when they came to tile it and trim back the frame and felt. The problem is that from the neighbours returning from their holiday at 9pm one evening to the roofers arriving at 8am the following morning the neighbour had been down his gap and cut some of the frame and split the felt so he could get his ladders down there to 'clear his gutters'. He is obviously just being awkward but I was wondering has he the right to damage our property given that it was overhanging on to his side?
CF - 28-Nov-17 @ 12:05 PM
Hi. I own my flat & flat upstairs has tenants. We have a leak coming down through light fitting in bathroom. Actual neighbours are as helpful as they are able to be as tenants. The problem is the landlord. I’ve had several run ins over the years with him. He refuses to accept there is a leak. We have filmed & taken pictures, which he’s seen. We wish to hire a professional plumber to seek out cause, as our expensive, but what can we do to gain access to upstairs flat. Tenanats would let a plumber in, but it’s not worth hassle they & I would have when their landlord found out. Just want a professional to assess situation & take it from there. Can we force this if landlord continues to refuse to co operate ?I live in Scotland. Thank you.
Fern - 22-Nov-17 @ 2:16 PM
Sharpee - Your Question:
I own a end terraced house. The land at the side has been sold with planning permission. That want to tie into my gable end. I'm worried about structural damage. I have already had to brick the my house. can I drop the build or ask for money in case of damage

Our Response:
We suggest you request payment of the cost of getting your own surveyor to look at the proposed build plans and your property. Draw up and agreement that says the builder must pay for any damage etc. It might be worth asking a solicitor for advice on this, will your property value be affected as it will no longer be an "end" terrace etc?
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Nov-17 @ 1:03 PM
Craig - Your Question:
Hi, at the side of my conservatory there is a 12 inch gap between the conservatory and the fence. There are weeds etc growing in the guttering that is growing into a pitched roof causing damage. I would need access into my neighbors garden as I can’t climb on the fence any longer as she’s installed trellises to the fence making it 8ft tall and preventing me climbing on the fence. She is refusing access- Can I force access as this is causing damage to my property.? Also as there is a dwarf wall in this gap the fence posts are on my side of the boundary yet she insists it is her fence- Can I make her take the fence down and erect it with the fence posts on her land ?

Our Response:
Do you have such accurate details of the boundary line that you know the posts are on your side of it?A fence owner can put posts on either side of the fence when they erect it - there are no laws that say the smooth side should face either one way or the other. If you have a query about ownership, your deeds should tell you.You can't simply force access for repairs. If your neighbour refuses, you will have to take appropriate action via the legal system under the above legislation.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Nov-17 @ 1:46 PM
Hi, at the side of my conservatory there is a 12 inch gap between the conservatory and the fence. There are weeds etc growing in the guttering that is growing into a pitched roof causing damage. I would need access into my neighbors garden as I can’t climb on the fence any longer as she’s installed trellises to the fence making it 8ft tall and preventing me climbing on the fence. She is refusing access- Can I force access as this is causing damage to my property.? Also as there is a dwarf wall in this gap the fence posts are on my side of the boundary yet she insists it is her fence- Can I make her take the fence down and erect it with the fence posts on her land ?.
Craig - 19-Nov-17 @ 11:51 AM
I own a end terraced house. The land at the side has been sold with planning permission. That want to tie into my gable end.. I'm worried about structural damage.. I have already had to brick the my house.. can I drop the build or ask for money in case of damage
Sharpee - 18-Nov-17 @ 2:43 PM
During the strong storms the neighbours fence fell down onto my fence so now mine isn’t secure. I have asked for acces which she granted and she knew that my fence wasn’t secure and that I needed new post put in. During the last week or so she has put up a 4ft fence. This is stopping me from accessing my fence to do the repair work. What can be done about it
Annoyed - 14-Nov-17 @ 11:35 AM
Hi, I simply would like access to my neighbour's side to paint my house (2 days max and a couple of painters with ladders) This side is suffering from mold and grime. She will not allow access, she will not discuss access an has not responded to my letters. She is not very nice generally (not just on my side!), its a control thing. Is it worth trying to pursue through solicitor's (feel like I need to make a stand with this bully).
pamacimi - 11-Nov-17 @ 12:59 PM
Lindsey - Your Question:
I want to take down my conservatory and replace with a single storey extension which will involve building out from back of house about an extra 1.5 meters. The access between my semi and neighbours is shared to each of our respective garages which we cant use but we each have right of way to get to. My question is can they stop me building my extension. The extension would still be within my boundary and once finished they can still access garage but there would be disruption during works obviously when building up from the side nearest shared driveway. Would I need a party wall?

Our Response:
You would have to ask your neighbours about the access really. We can't quite picture the final thing...and when ask about needing a party wall, this suggests your side wall would actually be on the boundary which would be something entirely different.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Nov-17 @ 2:54 PM
Selina - Your Question:
Hiya was wondering if anyone can help I live in a converted house where me and my daughter rent the first floor and my neibours own the ground floor.i have the far back garden and they have the near back garden.they have problems with us using the metal fire escape from my kitchen down to the shared access path to our gardens.they have built a fence blocking off our access to the garden and can now only use the front door to get to the garden the fence blocked off their garden to the wall so we can get down our stairs but can only get out using the gate they have put in the fence in an event of a fire.i just wondered if this was legal as we have to cross their garden to get out if a fire was to happen but none of it is lit?

Our Response:
If the gate is not locked and you can escape a fire through a neighbour's garden then we can't see any issues with this, you could get your local fire safety officer to take a look if you're unsure. Assuming you own your property, what do the deeds say about access? Are you supposed to use the fire escape as a regular means of access etc?
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Nov-17 @ 1:01 PM
I want to take down my conservatory and replace with a single storey extension which will involve building out from back of house aboutan extra 1.5 meters. The access between my semi and neighbours is shared to each of our respective garages which we cant use but we each have right of way to get to. My question is can they stop me building my extension. The extension would still be within my boundary and once finished they can still access garage but there would be disruption during works obviously when building up from the side nearest shared driveway. Would i need a party wall?
Lindsey - 8-Nov-17 @ 8:00 PM
Hi Yes I can get in drive forward but once inside drive it is tight to reverse into a forward position to go out. I wanted to be able to vere to the left of wall and reverse in but because the neighbour is parking a car there I am unable it is also making it awkward for deliveries as larger vaans have to reverse straight back which neighbour complains they are on his land I believe that although the land belongs to him it is access landAm I wrong
ticospeed - 8-Nov-17 @ 3:53 PM
ticospeed- Your Question:
My plot which I have built a house on is approx 60 ft wide at the front I built a brick wall and gates, the neigbour opposite who owns the access road keeps parking several cars right outside the wall so when we come up the access road we are unable to reverse in from the left side due to a car blocking us, Is my access all the way along the front even though we built a wall. My covenant gives us right to pass and repass at all times to access our property Any delivery driver who come in front way have no means of reversing out except straight in to the access path which the neigbour is adament its his land and we have no rights Surely the fact that we built a wall does not take away our rights which the neighbour seems to think

Our Response:
It sounds like you can still get into the drive though?
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Nov-17 @ 2:00 PM
Hiya was wondering if anyone can help I live in a converted house where me and my daughter rent the first floor and my neibours own the ground floor.i have the far back garden and they have the near back garden.they have problems with us using the metal fire escape from my kitchen down to the shared access path to our gardens.they have built a fence blocking off our access to the garden and can now only use the front door to get to the garden the fence blocked off their garden to the wall so we can get down our stairs but can only get out using the gate they have put in the fence in an event of a fire.i just wondered if this was legal as we have to cross their garden to get out if a fire was to happen but none of it is lit?
Selina - 8-Nov-17 @ 1:23 PM
Calum - Your Question:
I hope somebody can help me.We are currently in dispute with our neighbours regarding their properties. The neighbours have 2 bungalows than run adjacent to our back garden. They run along the boundary line and have fallen into disrepair due to the building materials used causing it to slowly collapse. They need to access our land to be able to rebuild/fix the problem this means that they have to erect a scaffolding which encroaches onto my property by 1.2 metres and is to be fenced off as they need to dig down to replace the external wall. The orignial timescale was 4 weeks and this has now changed and will take 8 weeks and take up a considerable amount of my garden.We have been in talks with a surveyor as we refused to offer them access as they provided no timescales or planning for the repair. We have tried to come to a compensation fee for the inconvenience. But they are adamant that they wish to gain access to the courts as it would be cheaper for them to do so. They offered us £500Can anybody give me any further advice on this matter? As I am struggling to find any answers. Both the Neighbouring Land Act and the Party Wall Act both specify compensation if it will cause inconvenience or any hardship?Regards

Our Response:
Sorry not sure what your question is...is seems as though have offered you £500 compensation but you are asking about compensation?
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Nov-17 @ 12:56 PM
My plot which I have built a house on is approx 60 ft wide at the front I built a brick wall and gates, the neigbour opposite who owns the access road keeps parking several cars right outside the wall so when we come up the access road we are unable to reverse in from the left side due to a car blocking us, Is my access all the way along the front even though we built a wall. My covenant gives us right to pass and repass at all times to access our property Any delivery driver who come in front way have no means of reversing out except straight in to the access path which the neigbour is adament its his land and we have no rights Surely the fact that we built a wall does not take away our rights which the neighbour seems to think
ticospeed - 7-Nov-17 @ 4:42 PM
I hope somebody can help me. We are currently in dispute with our neighbours regarding their properties. The neighbours have 2 bungalows than run adjacent to our back garden. They run along the boundary line and have fallen into disrepair due to the building materials used causing it to slowly collapse. They need to access our land to be able to rebuild/fix the problem this means that they have to erect a scaffolding which encroaches onto my property by 1.2 metres and is to be fenced off as they need to dig down to replace the external wall. The orignial timescale was 4 weeks and this has now changed and will take 8 weeks and take up a considerable amount of my garden. We have been in talks with a surveyor as we refused to offer them access as they provided no timescales or planning for the repair. We have tried to come to a compensation fee for the inconvenience. But they are adamant that they wish to gain access to the courts as it would be cheaper for them to do so. They offered us £500 Can anybody give me any further advice on this matter? As i am struggling to find any answers. Both the Neighbouring Land Act and the Party Wall Act both specify compensation if it will cause inconvenience or any hardship? Regards
Calum - 7-Nov-17 @ 2:37 PM
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