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: 19 Feb 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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Geoff - Your Question:
Advice sought on residential property access. I own a residential property that has its primary vehicle access to the garage via a neighbouring property, this has been the case since the building was constructed (60 years). Question is, the vacant block being used to access the garage has been rezoned in a major development for the area as residential housing blocks and I am asking whether we would have any case to maintain access to the property via its original point of entry. FYI the property of concern is zoned as residential A.

Our Response:
If you/dwellers of your property have been using this access for such a length of time, it's reasonable to assume that access route is now right, but you should seek legal advice on this. Check your deeds too, they may contain a clause relating to the access.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Feb-17 @ 12:40 PM
Chief- Your Question:
My neighbour has put in plans to build an extension which is79% of the house as a whole, I have objected to the plans due to the size. My question is,if it does go ahead Looking at the plans there will be a gap of 9" from extension to my fence. It looks like they will need access from my property, do I have to allow this ?

Our Response:
Check with the planning officer about the proximity to your boundary fence. Many planning authorities stipulate a minimum of 1 metre from the boundary for any extension. It would be reasonable for you to refuse access for maintenance on the basis that when you purchased the property it wasn't an issue, but a court would be the ultimate decision maker.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Feb-17 @ 11:50 AM
Advice sought on residential property access. I own a residential property that has its primary vehicle access to the garage via a neighbouring property, this has been the case since the building was constructed (60 years). Question is, the vacant block being used to access the garage has been rezoned in a major development for the area as residential housing blocks and I am asking whether we would have any case to maintain access to the property via its original point of entry. FYI the property of concern is zoned as residential A.
Geoff - 19-Feb-17 @ 10:18 PM
My neighbour has put in plans to build an extension which is79% ofthe house as a whole, I have objected to the plans due to the size. My question is,if it does go ahead Looking at the plans there will be a gap of 9" from extension to my fence. It looks like they will need access from my property, do I have to allow this ?
Chief - 19-Feb-17 @ 11:04 AM
My neighbour has a ROW around the back of my cottage to enable him to maintain and repair his property (stated in the deeds). But several years ago we had an argument with the neighbour about his excessive use of using the ROW, (25 times in one day) sometimes as early as 4am in the mornings (he was storing his fishing and camping equipment at the back of his property. Even though he has a large garden with shed at the front of his cottage. We gave him a month to move all the things stored at the back. But he never did it,so i told him i was going to lock the gate so when he wanted access to his property for repairs and maintanance he would have to ask for me to open it. He said he would make other arrangements and had a door put into the back of his cottage so now he uses that to gain access to the back of his property. He has not used the ROW now for 10 years so i asked him would he sign a Deed of Extinguishment to make things legal but i was told to F off. I'm worried about how this will affect my property if i ever want to sell it.. The deeds state that it is only for his life time, not his wifes and ceases when he dies or sells his property. Because he hasn't used it for 10 years has he lost all rights to the ROW
jay - 16-Feb-17 @ 6:50 PM
Advice sought on residential property access rights: My neighbour’s planning application to local council for an extension and other external works was successful despite my objection raised. To enable him to do this works, he will need access to my property which would my alleyway to the back garden and the back garden itself. The question I have is that do I have to grant him this access i.e. can I refuse? I would be grateful if some could help me understand my legal position on this. Thanks
Michael - 14-Feb-17 @ 2:59 PM
My neighbour has been granted planning permission to build a second storey onto an existing extension for a new bedroom at he rear of their house.He plans to put in a new side window into an existing bedroom (which overlooks my garden) as well as the main building works at the back of the house.This requires access onto my land as our boundary is formed where the side of his house meets my back garden. The only possible way he can put scaffolding up (for the window and other works) would be on my land, through my side access gate, which leads to my back garden. Does the law say I have to grant access?
James - 13-Feb-17 @ 6:57 PM
Madmike - Your Question:
I have had a neighbour rip down part of my fence on my drive boundry to gain extra access to his property for his camper van. I own the land on the drive. Can he do this. I've also had no notice for the fence change apart from spotting him measuring it up for the width of his camper

Our Response:
If you own the land and the fence then no, the neighbour shouldn't have done this. Try discussing this with the neighbour first but if that's unsuccessful, your main resort will be the small claims court.
ProblemNeighbours - 13-Feb-17 @ 11:17 AM
I am in a predicament. I live in a terraced property and the adjacent property was purchased roughly 2 x years ago to be converted into student flats. The owner employed rogue traders who have since left. However, they have left the neighbouring property in a complete and unfinished mess. So much so, it has caused damage to our property with water ingress into 2 x rooms in our property. Almost 2 x years on, I have had a call today from the owner to whom I have never met, advising that he was sending scaffolders around to assess the damage to his property. I have refused and asked him to put his request in writing. The owner has never compensated me for any damage which is over £3,000. I am consideringrequesting he obtain an access order, but am further inclined to take the legal route, but am fearful of the costs it may involve, even when all that has happened is his fault. Any recommendations would be welcome. Thanks
KI - 10-Feb-17 @ 6:27 PM
I have had a neighbour rip down part of my fence on my drive boundry to gain extra access to his property for his camper van . I own the land on the drive. Can he do this. I've also had no notice for the fence change apart from spotting him measuring it up for the width of his camper
Madmike - 10-Feb-17 @ 4:14 AM
Digger - Your Question:
We have a converted barn that has a party wall with an old barn that is being converted. On the deeds they have access for maintenance and repair. We originally allowed them to knock down part of a boundary wall to allow access to do what the builders needed to do. After time it was clear they were taking advantage of us. They have since got very nasty so we no longer are happy with them gaining access through a broken wall due to security reasons. We have a large gate at the end of the garden which would allow access during their working hours however they would need to go around the road to get to the gate. Would we be in a position to change their access entry? We feel very unsafe and have a ms sufferer living in the house and the workers have openly said they will try to make things difficult for us. Any advice would be greatly appreciated at this stressful time.

Our Response:
You would have to apply to the court to get any access arrangements changed on the title deeds.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Feb-17 @ 11:53 AM
ricospeed - Your Question:
I have access rights in a 1925 covenant to my plot of land Im building on. The neighbour who owns the access road is continually blocking our access where our boundary line is Our boudary line is about 60 ft wide but most time we are only able to access about 10 foot at the front due them parking there They keeps coming out taking photos etc when workmen are there what rights do I have sometimes trucks and equipment are unloaded on the boundary line due to no room on the site this the neighbours object to even though I have pointed out rights regarding loading and unloading things are getting worse week by week

Our Response:
Obviously we haven't seen the details of the covenant. Do the access rights really cover enough for a 60ft entry point? We imagine access was originally for farm vehicles - so as long as there is room for a vehicle to access your land and the road owner is not actually trespassing on the land, we can't really give any useful advice. It's not often that access applies to an entire boundary line or perimeter.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Feb-17 @ 10:10 AM
We have a converted barn that has a party wall with an old barn that is being converted. On the deeds they have access for maintenance and repair. We originally allowed them to knock down part of a boundary wall to allow access to do what the builders needed to do. After time it was clear they were taking advantage of us. They have since got very nasty so we no longer are happy with them gaining access through a broken wall due to security reasons. We have a large gate at the end of the garden which would allow access during their working hours however they would need to go around the road to get to the gate. Would we be in a position to change their access entry? We feel very unsafe and have a ms sufferer living in the house and the workers have openly said they will try to make things difficult for us. Any advice would be greatly appreciated at this stressful time.
Digger - 7-Feb-17 @ 7:43 PM
I have access rights in a 1925 covenant to my plot of land Im building on. The neighbour who owns the access road is continually blocking our access where our boundary line is Our boudary line is about 60 ft wide but most time we are only able to access about 10 foot at the front due them parking there They keeps coming out taking photos etc when workmen are there what rights do I have sometimes trucks and equipment are unloaded on the boundary line due to no room on the site this the neighbours object to even though I have pointed out rights regarding loading and unloading things are getting worse week by week
ricospeed - 7-Feb-17 @ 1:28 PM
Fred - Your Question:
I have a client who has a major damp issue with an external wall of her property. The neighbouring land is a car park in poor repair at a meter higher level. Water is percolating through the un made up gravel section and there is clearly a failure of my clients tanking system. The best and easiest solution would be to access the car park and excavate about an 8 meter section say 1200 wide to enable a new external tanking membrane/cavity dean and a french drain to discharge surface water back into a soak away on my clients garden land. The car park owner has been extremely unhelpful/uncooperative. Does my client have to carry out damp treatment on the inside of the property or can she use the Neighbouring Land Act to push for access and works externally so long as making good afterwards? The car park has ample space and would cause no problems with parking.

Our Response:
If the neighbour refuses to allow access, your client may have to apply to the courts under the Access to Neighbouring Land legislation. If the maintenance is essential and other options are not satisfactory, then the courts can choose to issue an order allowing access.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Feb-17 @ 11:08 AM
I have a client who has a major damp issue with an external wall of her property. The neighbouring land is a car park in poor repair at a meter higher level. Water is percolating through the un made up gravel section and there is clearly a failure of my clients tanking system.The best and easiest solution would be to access the car park and excavate about an 8 meter section say 1200 wide to enable a new external tanking membrane/cavity dean and a french drain to discharge surface water back into a soak away on my clients garden land. The car park owner has been extremely unhelpful/uncooperative. Does my client have to carry out damp treatment on the inside of the property or can she use the Neighbouring Land Act to push for access and works externally so long as making good afterwards?The car park has ample space and would cause no problems with parking.
Fred - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:09 AM
My neighbours have allowed their decking to fall into disrepair.Now they are refusing access across the decking to clean mywindows and carry out essential repairs.Do they have a duty to keep the decking in good shape.
Southerngirl - 2-Feb-17 @ 8:29 PM
I have recently bought a semi detached house which I am told by the surveyor has a cob wall.The wall was incorrectly rendered some time ago with a cement render which is now cracking and letting water ingress causing large damp places inside. The surveyor told me that is vital to get the render removed ASAP and then correctly re-rendered with a lime based render. The wall in question borders on my neighbour's drive and scaffolding would take up about 30" of that drive, but still allow access for her car. Would I have a right of access to repair my wall?
subo - 1-Feb-17 @ 6:37 PM
I am building a shed in my garden in Croydon, it's where a fence stood which was blown down by a storm and it is my fence and the deeds say the property line is on the other side of it. My neighbours agreed informally that a shed instead of a botched temporary fence was ok with them. The footings are built in our side. Our neighbours have taken it on themselves to deny me access and are suddenly off with my wife and I. I'd like to finish our shed by putting a roof on it but will need to get access to complete this. Can I get access without using the courts? We have never been to court or used a lawyer. Please help us. Thank you, Bob
Bob - 30-Jan-17 @ 11:52 PM
Loki - Your Question:
We have recently moved in to a property and was told neighbours use the garden as a way of putting their bins put. (Right of way for septic pit which is no longer there.) Was a right of way to get to the pit but now they are all on mains so use it for there ease to get bins out. My question is do we have legal rights to refuse them entry. As we have a dog and let her run in garden and have been finding the gates either end of garden open. And several have moaned the dog jumps. We have put signs up. And even had another gate put along passage to stop the dog getting near them so we can run out side to get her. Like I say they used to need the access to the pit which isnt there.(in deeds) but now they use it to put bins out instead.

Our Response:
You would need to apply for a court order to have the easement/right of access removed.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Jan-17 @ 2:24 PM
My neighbour recently installed a boiler flue through a party wall and crosses into my boundary in a private ally way. I refused this installation prior to the install but they installed anyway and gained access to my property without my authorisation. The flue meets gas regulations but now my neighbours need access to my property for any repairs and this will carry implications for any future house sale. What rights do I have to force its removal?
Ed - 24-Jan-17 @ 6:31 AM
My mum bought her property outright 10 years ago, the gate in her back garden was there when she bought it. New neighbours have moved in next door, there garden is smaller than mum's . In September of last year they informed mum they had bought the piece of land that mum's gate leads on to. Does she have any rights with the gate being there for more than 10 years??
Sarah Phillips - 23-Jan-17 @ 5:10 PM
We have recently moved in to a property and was told neighbours use the garden as a way of putting their bins put. (Right of way for septic pit which is no longer there.) Was a right of way to get to the pit but now they are all on mains so use it for there ease to get bins out. My question is do we have legal rights to refuse them entry. As we have a dog and let her run in garden and have been finding the gates either end of garden open. And several have moaned the dog jumps. We have put signs up. And even had another gate put along passage to stop the dog getting near them so we can run out side to get her. Like I say they used to need the access to the pit which isnt there.(in deeds) but now they use it to put bins out instead.
Loki - 22-Jan-17 @ 3:33 PM
My neighbours want access to my property to replace guttering. I do not trust them at all from past experience, therefore, I have asked them to sign an indemnity letter as roofers have to go through my house to access the rear part and also go on my roof. They have refused to sign my indemnity letter.If they take this to the courts will I have to pay legal costs ?
Terry - 17-Jan-17 @ 2:56 PM
Teribus - Your Question:
We have a longstanding issue with our neighbours starting when they refused us access to build an extension to our property - leading to extra thousands of pounds costs spent on extra manual work plus all materials having to being trailed through the house.We stay in a lower villa property in Edinburgh and our upstairs neighbours have also mislead us into sharing costs of cutting a boundary hedge in the past. which is on their property!These plus other issues has lead to my question which would otherwise have appeared futile and unreasonable. Are we able to stop window cleaners entering our garden to clean their windows without our permission, as we have had heated discussion with the company who said that the law is on their side. I would not classify window cleaning as repairs or maintenance to am keen to get this clarified?

Our Response:
Firstly check your deeds - there is probably a clause that relates to access rights and conditions. Secondly the windows have to be cleaned and if there's no other means of doing them, you are possibly being difficult about it unreasonably and a court would probably force you to allow access.
ProblemNeighbours - 11-Jan-17 @ 10:44 AM
We have a longstanding issue with our neighbours starting when they refused us access to build an extension to our property - leading to extra thousands of pounds costs spent on extra manual work plus all materials having to being trailed through the house. We stay in a lower villa property in Edinburgh and our upstairs neighbours have also mislead us into sharing costs of cutting a boundary hedge in the past... which is on their property! These plus other issues has lead to my question which would otherwise have appeared futile and unreasonable. Are we able to stop window cleaners entering our garden to clean their windows without our permission, as we have had heated discussion with the company who said that the law is on their side. I would not classify window cleaning as repairs or maintenance to am keen to get this clarified?
Teribus - 10-Jan-17 @ 10:44 AM
my neighbour is selling site to other but he is not intrested to give he is giving to third party can i suess him
haffiz - 7-Jan-17 @ 11:37 AM
Hi we share a lane way can we go a head andconcrete a certain area to our home?
Kate - 30-Dec-16 @ 10:04 PM
I live in a back to back terraced house.I have a main gate to access my property but there is a gate linking mine and my neighbours property.The gates have been an issue despite notices and polite asking to delivery personnel,window Cleaners etc to please close and lock the gates behind them.As my dogs keep escaping and I fear they will be injured in their escaping.There is an access alley way their side of their property so I have locked the gate between us with a padlock is this allowed.?
Nick - 23-Dec-16 @ 5:03 PM
We live in a block of flats and the base of the lift shaft extends into neighbouring property. The lift was installed and has been serving 13 flats for over 50 years. The neighbouring property recently came under new ownership and they firstly threatened to concrete over the base of the lift shaft as they say it is on their property so they can do as they wish. We are about to undertake refurbishment of the lift and they then threatened to issue an injunction preventing us from working on that portion of the lift on their property. They want us to either give them some valuable storage vaultsin return for continued use of the basement section of the shaft or monetary compensation. Surely they have no right to do anything that interferes with the operation of the lift?
Maz - 10-Dec-16 @ 12:48 PM
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