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: 25 Jun 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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I live in cottage flat and upstairs neighbour has moved her bins from her back garden to strip of land outside my front door.She could leave them further down away from front door
Bessie - 25-Jun-17 @ 4:54 PM
My aunt has had a development company start work next door they dropped the party wall and erected a concrete 1 in the process they drop down her chimney and damaged the roof they have took part of her celler for the footing of the new building they had a couple plasters round as a good will jestures and they stole from her they now have erected scaffolding on her roof and in garden and the top to bottom of that side of the house is not water tight and the weight of scaffolding and whatever they done on party wall has started cracking really bad and celling has started bowing due to weight of the scaffolding how does she get them to write up a contract to ensureall damages she encurd to be payd for before they finish and leave as they are not willing to put this in writing for us
Fester - 14-Jun-17 @ 9:15 AM
The boundary at the end of our garden originally backed onto a college, we built a cabin up to the boundary and had a verbal agreement with the caretaker that we could access the back of the cabin for maintenance. The college closed and houses are now being built on the land; I recently found out from the builder that a fence is to be erected for the newly created gardens, but it will be placed as close to the cabin rear wall as is physically possible. This will prevent any access for maintenance, even from our new neighbours gardens. Is there any way to to get the builder to leave a maintenance access space between the new fence and our cabin wall? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Mark - 8-Jun-17 @ 11:12 PM
My property back wall faces the neighbours yard,they have erected shelves up to my wall blocking 3 windows from any daylight.A roof structure has now covered the yard so that access to maintain my wall and windows plus roof.
Nell - 8-Jun-17 @ 6:04 PM
ADVICE PLEASE! OUR FRONT GARDEN WALL IS THE ORIGINAL 1926 BRICK WALL. MY NEIGHBOURS WALL ADJOINING IT WAS BUILT 30 YEARS AGO. THE DIVISION IS PERFECTLY CLEAR. ACTING ON THE 'OPINION' OF HIS ARCHITECT WHICH HAS BEEN REFUTED BY THE SURVEYOR I'VE HIRED AND MY SOLICITOR, MY NEIGHBOUR HAS PUT A PLANK OF WOOD 'DIVIDING' OUR FRONT GARDEN FROM THE FRONT WALL TO THE END OF THE FRONT GARDEN BUT THE PLANK IS 10" INSIDE MY SIDE OF THE BRICK DIVISION. HE HAS DONE THIS WITHOUT ANY LEGAL DOCUMENT OR COURT ORDER. HAS HE ACTED UNLAWFUL AND HAVE I THE LEGAL RIGHT TO REMOVE IT.HELP PLEASE!
CABBY - 6-Jun-17 @ 5:50 PM
mark - Your Question:
Hey, my neighbour wishes to come into our garden and erect scaffold for the renovation of their property. Their builder has stated he can start beginning of June and do the work for 4 months, we have not refused access for them to do this, only asking them not to do it not during the months of June or July, we have many commitments in the garden during these months (birthdays, anniversary parties) and it will severally affect them, would they be successful if they applied for an access order? They are free to do the works anytime in August and September. However, they are not agreeing, planning for this renovation was only granted at the end of May, how realistic is it for them to get an access order when we have not refused access, just asked them to do it in August or September?

Our Response:
This would be up to a judge to decide. Unless the work is so urgent that the property will be damaged, the decision is more likely to be in your favour as the third party being inconvenienced.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jun-17 @ 1:51 PM
My neighbour needs access to my flat roof over my garage to repair his roof.I have looked at the overview of the Access to Neighbouring Land and can see that I cannot refuse and that they can access my property even without my permission and when I am not there. I am in the unfortunate position that whilst I always use qualified and named builders, my neighbours use cowboy builders who dont speak English and dont adhere to the same regulations and respect of property.They have in the past spoiled my property on my roof and garden fence.How does this Act cover me if I come home one day and find they have gone through my flat roof or damaged it in some way and I have no way contacting them.The Act seems to support them and not me, please can you advise me ?
Terry - 6-Jun-17 @ 11:16 AM
Hey, my neighbour wishes to come into our garden and erect scaffold for the renovation of their property. Their builder has stated he can start beginning of June and do the work for 4 months, we have not refused access for them to do this, only asking them not to do it not during the months of June or July, we have many commitments in the garden during these months (birthdays, anniversary parties) and it will severally affect them, would they be successful if they applied for an access order? They are free to do the works anytime in August and September. However, they are not agreeing, planning for this renovation was only granted at the end of May, how realistic is it for them to get an access order when we have not refused access, just asked them to do it in August or September?
mark - 3-Jun-17 @ 11:28 PM
I own a house that use to have a shared out house this building is no longer there but the new neighbours say the out house is shared even though it is no longer there but they insist that just because it's not there doesn't mean they can't access the my garden do they have a right to enter my garden?
Caroline? - 25-May-17 @ 10:29 PM
Hi, do I have the right to cross a neighbours land in order to repair the outside unit of my air conditioner? They gave me permission to cross their land when it was installed but now, 7 years later, are being awkward about it as they say that it makes a noise and they would prefer it wasn't there. IThey agree that originally it made no noise but t is because they have told me it makes a noise now that I want to get it serviced/repaired. I first asked for access 7 months ago now and today temperatures in my premises ( a commercial premises I own which is below their flat ) reached 30 degrees as we have no air conditioning in there now.
Devonbelle - 25-May-17 @ 7:39 PM
I have had to move my fence of my boundry because of overgrowen trees About 3 feet, and has damaged my fence and roots are pulling out my post can i charge for my fence to be refixed back to my boundry.
Ian scott - 14-May-17 @ 7:58 PM
Anise76 - Your Question:
We live in a terraced house, and the tenement portion of the back of the neighbours' property has a two-storey high wall that forms the boundary with our back yard. There is a problem with the gutters on the top of the wall of the tenement, and it has been dripping water down the side of the building. The paintwork has turned black, and is now starting to crack. Whose responsibility is it to put this right, as the guttering is on the neighbours' house, and the wall affected is their kitchen wall?

Our Response:
We can't say without physically seeing the damage. The best thing to do is ask a surveyor to take a look - he/she will be able to produce a report which you can use to take action if the neighbour is liable.
ProblemNeighbours - 25-Apr-17 @ 10:29 AM
We live in a terraced house, and the tenement portion of the back of the neighbours' property has atwo-storey high wall that forms the boundary with our back yard. There is a problem with the gutters on the top of the wall of the tenement, and it has been dripping water down the side of the building. The paintwork has turned black, and is now starting to crack. Whose responsibility is it to put this right, as the guttering is on the neighbours' house, and the wall affected is their kitchen wall?
Anise76 - 23-Apr-17 @ 1:22 PM
I want to cut overhanging trees that the school behind my house own. To do so the tree cutters would need to access the schools land to climb the trees. The school have refused access for a number of years now. Would this be something I could get an access order for? The trees don't touch my property they just overhang the garden
Holz - 22-Apr-17 @ 3:52 PM
CAF - Your Question:
A neighbour has permission for a garden extension at the bottom of their garden. 12 houses have access to the service road at the back of their properties. My question is do the builders have the right to block this service road during the construction of a 2 storey garden brick building.

Our Response:
No not usually if it's a road needed for access. If it was a public highway that need to be closed while work was being carried, a Traffic Regulation Order would need to be applied for. We suggest you check the planning application to see if any conditions were made. Failing that, your local highways department might be able to advise.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Apr-17 @ 2:41 PM
A neighbour has permission for a garden extension at the bottom of their garden.12 houses have access to the service road at the back of their properties.My question is do the builders have the right to block this service road during the construction of a 2 storey garden brick building.
CAF - 18-Apr-17 @ 2:48 PM
Our 200 year old cottage is detached and built sideways to the road, so the back wall serves as a boundary wall to my next door neighbours front. The side of my cottage is proud of the house next door as their property is an old pub set well back off the road. They are now erecting a 6' high fence with large wooden double gates and a wooden side gate, right across the centre of the old pub car park and intend to put the side gate post next to our back wall. This will mean that our property will effectively be within in the confines of their enclosed grounds including my kitchen window. It will also mean that we will be unable to do general maintenance on our property, such as painting the wall, cleaning the windows upstairs and down. Clearing out gutters etc etc. We can't believe that this is acceptable to anyone, and nor do we think it is legal. Can anyone advise us on what our position is about this please.
Annemari - 12-Apr-17 @ 9:05 PM
Tired1 - Your Question:
Hi, I want to erect a fence at the front of my property on my boundary line between mine and my neighbours driveway, an I allowed to legally put up a fence and how high as I allowed to do? Or could the neighbour complain due to blocking their vision to pull out if their driveway and if they did would they be in the right to do so? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
First of all check your deeds if you are an owner or ask your landlord if you are renting; there may be something documented that prevents this, or gives certain restrictions. Second, speak to your neighbour, if there are no rules, covenants, or local planning restraints in place and your neighbours agree, then all should be fine. Planning laws state that in general a maximum height of 1 metre is allowed for fences near a highway.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Apr-17 @ 12:10 PM
Hi, I want to erect a fence at the front of my property on my boundary line between mine and my neighbours driveway, an I allowed to legally put up a fence and how high as I allowed to do? Or could the neighbour complain due to blocking their vision to pull out if their driveway and if they did would they be in the right to do so? Thanks in advance
Tired1 - 10-Apr-17 @ 5:23 PM
Tom - Your Question:
We rent the ground floor flat of a detached house. The upstairs want to extend their loft to turn it into a 2 floor flat above us. This will involve scaffolding that covers half of our garden (its ours only, its not a shared garden). The work starts at the end of April and scaffolding will be up for 2 or more months, covering May, June and maybe some of July, which are prime months for us to enjoy the garden.Are we entitled to refuse permission for the scaffolding to go up on our land? Or can we suggest an alternative date where the garden would not used as extensively? Thanks for your help.

Our Response:
You (or your landlord) is entitled to refuse and offer dates that are convenient to you.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Apr-17 @ 12:22 PM
Smithyeast - Your Question:
Hi, my neighbour is trying to stop us putting up scaffolding which will protrude over the boundary line 10ft in the air, under he 10ft will be in our property, we won't need to go onto their land to do this and it will not be in the way at all as it is above a walkway into the gardens and Over a garage, could they legally stop us? Thanks in advance

Our Response:
A property owner also owns the airspace above their land, so they can refuse to allow this. Most neighbours wouldn't refuse this if it was only for a short period. If they're not willing to negotiate and the work is required is for essential repairs, then you may have to pursue it via the courts under the above act.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Apr-17 @ 12:35 PM
We rent the ground floor flat of a detached house. The upstairs want to extend their loft to turn it into a 2 floor flat above us. This will involve scaffolding that covers half of our garden (its ours only, its not a shared garden). The work starts at the end of April and scaffolding will be up for 2 or more months, covering May, June and maybe some of July, which are prime months for us to enjoy the garden. Are we entitled to refuse permission for the scaffolding to go up on our land? Or can we suggest an alternative date where the garden would not used as extensively? Thanks for your help.
Tom - 1-Apr-17 @ 2:22 PM
Hi, my neighbour is trying to stop us putting up scaffolding which will protrude over the boundary line 10ft in the air, under he 10ft will be in our property, we won't need to go onto their land to do this and it will not be in the way at all as it is above a walkway into the gardens and Over a garage, could they legally stop us? Thanks in advance
Smithyeast - 31-Mar-17 @ 12:46 PM
taff - Your Question:
We own our property and we have a side entry and gate that should be kept locked.Our neighbours tell us they have rights of access. They've been using it to come and go as they please, slamming the gate and it being respectful of our property. We've since padlocked it.We also have our washing line in the entry - they've dragged their push bikes through knocking washing off our line and not picking it up.They've now written in chalk, on our house wall - "lift up your washing line!".What can we do from here?In our opinion, the access rights should only be in emergencies and not for everyday use.

Our Response:
Check your title deeds these will give full details of access rights. They're not always for emergencies (and if they were, your padlocking it would be unhelpful), often they are for regular things like taking bins, prams etc out.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM
We own our property and we have a side entry and gate that should be kept locked. Our neighbours tell us they have rights of access. They've been using it to come and go as they please, slamming the gate andit being respectful of our property. We've since padlocked it. We also have our washing line in the entry - they've dragged their push bikes through knocking washing off our line and not picking it up. They've now written in chalk, on our house wall - "lift up your washing line!". What can we do from here? In our opinion, the access rights should only be in emergencies and not for everyday use.
taff - 26-Mar-17 @ 11:09 AM
Anamaria - Your Question:
Hi ,I need advice I have a semidetached house and my neighbour ,blocked my access to garden with her bins. I have called council they can't healp me because is private land. I called antisocial behaviour they can't healp,they said same is private land. What I can do?

Our Response:
Firstly speak to your neighbour about it. Maybe she doesn't realise that she is blocking your access or that you need access via this route. If her bins are in a shared access way, make sure she knows that an access route should not be blocked by any obstacles (check your title deeds for any details of shared access). You could try simply moving the binstoo.Private legal action or mediation should be used as a last resort.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Mar-17 @ 12:54 PM
Hi ,I need advice I have a semidetachedhouse and my neighbour,blockedmy accessto garden with her bins. I have called council they can'thealp me because is privateland. I called antisocialbehaviourthey can't healp,they said same is private land. WhatI can do?
Anamaria - 22-Mar-17 @ 2:51 PM
Colin - Your Question:
Hi,We are having our windows installed. Don't need access to neighbours land for the scaffolding, one of the planks at the top windows (2nd floor) extends slightly across the fence boundary.Can the neighbours object?It's going up today and will be down on Tuesday.Thanks,Colin

Our Response:
In theory they could object, but as it's such a minimal intrusion and will only be up a couple of days, the neighbours would be unreasonable to object. A court would probably rule in your favour if it went that far.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:40 AM
Hi, We are having our windows installed. Don't need access to neighbours land for the scaffolding, one of the planks at the top windows (2nd floor) extends slightly across the fence boundary. Can the neighbours object? It's going up today and will be down on Tuesday. Thanks, Colin
Colin - 17-Mar-17 @ 11:58 AM
SavanaK - Your Question:
My neighbour has a large and heavy growth of ivy and other vegetation growing on his side of our joint fence. I have recently spent a large sum having it repaired when it blew down in a storm. I have asked him twice for access to have the growth pruned right back in case it brings the fence down again but he will not reply. We are not on the best of terms due to noise infringements from him and he is simply being difficult. What is the best way forward?

Our Response:
In theory a neighbour should not attach anything to a fence that doesn't belong to them. If they will not remove it, you could try mediation - otherwise the courts are your most realistic option.
ProblemNeighbours - 14-Mar-17 @ 12:23 PM
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