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Your Rights Under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 20 Sep 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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My neighbour has chosen to place their bins in a space which is adjacent to the wall of their house;the bins being on my side of the hedge. It is questionable if the piece of land the bins are on is theirs or mine. The big issue is that the only way to access the bins is to walk through my front garden. Putting the bins out involves dragging them across my driveway and the stones I have laid. I assume they cannot simply put the bins where they have without my permission and that I am within my rights to refuse them access to my front garden.
Sharky - 20-Sep-17 @ 9:30 PM
Sue - Your Question:
I live in a detached house and my gas and electric meters are on my left hand side of my house which you can only get access through the side gate which is on the neighbours property. he will not give us the key to the gate. Does he have legal right to lock it as it is a emergency access to switch off the gas supply. I am not sure about the boundries for this either.

Our Response:
Check your title deeds - there will probably be some mention of access rights if there are any and the deeds will also give details of the boundaries etc. It sounds very unlikely that your property would have bebuilt with no access to the electricy and gas metres.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:34 PM
I live in a detached house and my gas and electric meters are on my left hand side of my house which you can only get access through the side gate which is on the neighbours property. he will not give us the key to the gate. Does he have legal right to lock it as it is a emergency access to switch off the gas supply. I am not sure about the boundries for this either.
Sue - 11-Sep-17 @ 8:36 PM
My Aunt recently returned home from an afternoons shopping trip to find that the builders engaged to develop the property next to hers had erected part of their scaffold on her property and restricting access to personnel door her garage. they did not ask for permission and appear to have waited for her to go out first and seem to be taking advantage of the fact that she lives alone. they did ask for temporary access to her garage roof which was granted. What course of action should she take?
libmeister - 1-Sep-17 @ 3:35 PM
hi we live in a mid terraced house our neighbour is building a summer house and two of the windows are looking straight into our backyard the windows are on the shared wall she said she needs it for light we didn't agree but she has done it anyway now they want access to our back yard to finish the extension and me Husband is refusing them entry it's not so much the summer house it's the windows that will be looking into our yard that is the problem we live in Lancashire and need some advice please Kind Regards Leona
LEONA - 31-Aug-17 @ 9:19 AM
A friend is a protected tenant in an upstairs flat having been there 48 years. Access tot he rear garden was down steps which turned in front of downstairs back door and was accessed by steps and a path which went across the bottom of their garden. At the request of the bottom flat, they contacted friends landlord and said they wanted to turn the steps and erect a fence. This was agreed as long as a gate was put in fence as my friend has a right of way along side the entire property (although never uses). The work happened but by moving the steps and erecting a fence this removed the access the bottom flat has to their bedroom window. They now believe they have full right of access across my friend garden which has not path but involved them walking through a flower bed and entering in the middle of the garden - which seems to be very invasive. ON the basis they choose to block their own access, do they have the right to simply recreate access through the property. The landlord has been contacted but is not responding, presumably because he is not interested. Sadly the flat below are not nice and they have shouted at her and intimate her and just walked in regardless. Can she do anything ? Thanks
Bella - 27-Aug-17 @ 10:15 PM
Help ! Please help ! My son has a terrible leak in his bathroom which (after 4 weeks) has finally been diagnosed as a concealed leak ( it must be a convealed one as there's nothing visible) in the flat above. The owner refuses to call out an emergency plumber. My son has lost a lot of bathroom ceiling. Help For god's sake Help
Adam'smum - 24-Aug-17 @ 8:23 PM
I have an end of terrace flat and a party wall which the developers want to knock down and build a new one, however, they will need to put scaffolding in my garden which will leave me unable to use foaperiodof34weeks. Do I have to consent to this?
pixie - 24-Aug-17 @ 4:16 PM
marksalisbury - Your Question:
Part of my of my conifers overhang a communal parking area. Is it my responsibility to maintain the trees in this area as they are overhanging some cars that are parked there?Or is it the owners of the parking spaces.I do know that they were trimmed by previous owners in the past.

Our Response:
If your trees overhang a public highway your should cut them back so they are not obstructing it. If the area is not public but owned by someone else, they are entitled to cut back any branches that overhang their side of the boundary. Check your title deeds to be sure you have no responsibilities related to tree adjacent to this communal area too.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Aug-17 @ 2:42 PM
Sophio - Your Question:
I own an end of terrace and my next door neighbour has access through to her garden. We recently put up a shed and the access was moved with her agreement, she is now saying the access needs to be wide enough for a wheelchair to use? It is wide enough to get a large wheelie bin down, are there any legal requirements for me to provide disabled access or a minimum path width?

Our Response:
This depends on the wording on your deeds really. Check that first. Wheelchair access is not an unreasonable request, as a wheelchair user might still want to put his/her own bins out etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 23-Aug-17 @ 1:53 PM
Part of my of my conifers overhang a communal parking area. Is it my responsibility to maintain the trees in this area as they are overhanging some cars that are parked there? Or is it the owners of the parking spaces. I do know that they were trimmed by previous owners in the past.
marksalisbury - 22-Aug-17 @ 3:47 PM
I own an end of terrace and my next door neighbour has access through to her garden. We recently put up a shed and the access was moved with her agreement, she is now saying the access needs to be wide enough for a wheelchair to use? It is wide enough to get a large wheelie bin down, are there any legal requirements for me to provide disabled access or a minimum path width?
Sophio - 22-Aug-17 @ 12:37 AM
Beckyboo2008 - Your Question:
I rent a property, that has a garden that is spilt between two flats, some parts are private and some parts are communal access, my neighbour has been telling us for months that she was going to repair her very damaged fence, but she hasn't done anything about it, about a month ago she contact our landlord and informed him that she was fixing the fence and to make sure I allowed her access, fair enough, I was a little miffed she didn't talk to me directly but what can you do, however she didn't make any repairs to the fence until yesterday morning when she and two workmen appeared in the garden at 830am, she removed a couple of panels and left leaving a large hole between the garden, she didn't say anything to me, she again today has just walked into the garden to paint without saying a single wordShe is under the impression that as I am only a renter she doesn't have to get my permission to enter the garden and that contact my landlord over a month ago is enough for her to just walk into the garden Is this true or can I tell her to leave if she doesn't inform me of her intention to have access

Our Response:
You should discuss this with your landlord really. The legislation does not distinguish really:"A person (a)who, for the purpose of carrying out works to any land (the “dominant land”), desires to enter upon any adjoining or adjacent land (the “servient land”), and (b)who needs, but does not have, the consent of some other person to that entry,may make an application to the court for an order under this section (“an access order”) against that other person.
(2)On an application under this section, the court shall make an access order if, and only if, it is satisfied—
(a)that the works are reasonably necessary for the preservation of the whole or any part of the dominant land; and
(b)that they cannot be carried out, or would be substantially more difficult to carry out, without entry upon the servient land;
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Aug-17 @ 12:19 PM
I rent a property, that has a garden that is spilt between two flats, some parts are private and some parts are communal access, my neighbour has been telling us for months that she was going to repair her very damaged fence, but she hasn't done anything about it, about a month ago she contact our landlord and informed him that she was fixing the fence and to make sure I allowed her access, fair enough, I was a little miffed she didn't talk to me directly but what can you do, however she didn't make any repairs to the fence until yesterday morning when she and two workmen appeared in the garden at 830am, she removed a couple of panels and left leaving a large hole between the garden, she didn't say anything to me, she again today has just walked into the garden to paint without saying a single word She is under the impression that as I am only a renter she doesn't have to get my permission to enter the garden and that contact my landlord over a month ago is enough for her to just walk into the garden Is this true or can I tell her to leave if she doesn't inform me of her intention to have access
Beckyboo2008 - 16-Aug-17 @ 8:07 PM
Marc - Your Question:
I have a strange victorian boundary which means a small part of the rear of my property backs onto my neighbours garden. I have to go into their garden to maintain the eaves and drains on my property previously. They now want to build an extension which means I will no longer be able to gain access to my eaves and drain, thus effectively condemning my property. I have objected to the council re planning permission, could they refuse planning permission on this basis? Thanks.

Our Response:
Do you have access rights written into your title deeds? Seek advice from a solicitor, your neighbours are affectively interfering with your easement rights and there are several remedies (including injunction) available.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-17 @ 1:52 PM
Ro - Your Question:
The branches from my neighbours tree are overhanging on to my garden.If I ask a tree surgeon to prune them. can I recover the cost from my neighbour who id the tree owner.

Our Response:
No, the tree owner is not responsible for these costs.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-17 @ 12:23 PM
C - Your Question:
My neighbour has a right of access over my drive which lays within my boundary. while erecting the wall at my boundary, my neighbour has allowed themselves multiple access-points by leaving gaps in the construction of the existing wall. This consists of gaps of 2 to 3 metres in length including a larger vehicle access to their parking and garage at the rear of their property. I find I have no real use of my extended garden ( land ) due to the lack of privacy and the obvious lack of security along the length of my boundary. I wish to fence at a height of 6 feet along my drive/boundary and erect an access gate at the bottom of our drive here it meets the road. I have offered to also pay for a 30inch access gate to allow them the use of their side door out onto the drive. this, of course, they could lock from their side for privacy reasons. I find that these plans have now been made the subject of an injunction threat made by solicitors letter. That unless I agree within 14 days to curtail any plans to fence by boundary or fit an access gate to my drive, the injunction will be sought against me. there seems to be no clear guidance as to the number of allowed access points for a right of way of this nature. Advice would be most welcome.

Our Response:
Any conditions relating to the nature of the access should be details in your title deeds. If you the measures you propose restrict their access in any way (having to open a gate that wasn't there previously may be considered a restriction) then your neighbour may have a case. A solicitor who can check your property and examine the deeds would be recommended.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-17 @ 11:49 AM
Vickers19 - Your Question:
I currently rent an upstairs flat, I have a large tree in my garden which proves to be a god send as far as keeping my garden private goes, it also adds a nice bit of colour to my garden. A new owner has recently taken over downstairs and requested permission to cut the branches back that were going into his property, the estate agent who manage my property agreed to this which I cannot complain about however my new neighbor has entered my garden I chopped away 70% of the branches without asking me first leaving my garden looking baron and taking away my privacy. He has since requested permission to chop the tree down altogether which I have denied but I have a feeling he is just going to do it anyway. What can I do to protect my garden, I would ideally like it back to how it was before but obviously this is impossible.

Our Response:
Do you have a part of the garden each as flat occupiers? Assuming it's not a communal garden, your neighbour would be committing criminal damage and trespass if he were to simply enter and chop down the tree. Talk to you landlord, make it clear that you do not want the tree removed and that it improves the flat (and its rentability/resaleability)...hopefully your landlord will agree and refuse permission for this.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Aug-17 @ 9:59 AM
I have a strange victorian boundary which means a small part of the rear of my property backs onto my neighbours garden. I have to go into their garden to maintain the eaves and drains on myproperty previously. They now want to build an extension which means I will no longer be able to gain access to my eaves and drain, thus effectively condemningmy property. I have objected to the council re planning permission, could they refuse planning permission on this basis?Thanks.
Marc - 9-Aug-17 @ 6:18 PM
The branches from my neighbours tree are overhanging on to my garden.If i ask a tree surgeon to prune them. can i recover the cost from my neighbour who id the tree owner.
Ro - 9-Aug-17 @ 5:52 PM
Ron - Your Question:
My mother in law recently passed away and property currently going through probate. I have been keeping an eye on the garden etc however on my last visit I was astounded to find that some tree's in the back garden had been removed and others severely cut back, no contact had been made to ask permission and most of the work undertaken must have been performed within the property back garden. all branches etc have been left. Whilst she lived there I used to maintain the gardens and permission was given to neighbours to trim only overhanging branches. The damage is done now "so to speak" but should they be at least responsible for paying for the clearance?

Our Response:
If they have entered the garden (trespass) and cut the trees down (criminal damage) then you can take legal action for compensation.
ProblemNeighbours - 9-Aug-17 @ 2:22 PM
My neighbour has a right of access over my drive which lays within my boundary. while erecting the wall at my boundary, my neighbour has allowed themselves multiple access-points by leaving gaps in the construction of the existing wall. This consists of gaps of 2 to 3 metres in length including a larger vehicle access to their parking and garage at the rear of their property. I find I have no real use of my extended garden ( land ) due to the lack of privacy and the obvious lack of security along the length of my boundary. I wish to fence at a height of 6 feet along my drive/boundary and erect an access gate at the bottom of our drive here it meets the road. I have offered to also pay for a 30inch access gate to allow them the use of their side door out onto the drive. this, of course, they could lock from their side for privacy reasons. I find that these plans have now been made the subject of an injunction threat made by solicitors letter. That unless i agree within 14 days to curtail any plans to fence by boundary or fit an access gate to my drive, the injunction will be sought against me. there seems to be no clear guidance as to the number of allowed access points for a right of way of this nature. Advice would be most welcome.
C - 9-Aug-17 @ 11:04 AM
I currently rent an upstairs flat, I have a large tree in my garden which proves to be a god send as far as keeping my garden private goes, it also adds a nice bit of colour to my garden. A new owner has recently taken over downstairs and requested permission to cut the branches back that were going into his property, the estate agent who manage my property agreed to this which I cannot complain about however my new neighbor has entered my garden I chopped away 70% of the branches without asking me first leaving my garden looking baron and taking away my privacy. He has since requested permission to chop the tree down altogether which I have denied but I have a feeling he is just going to do it anyway. What can I do to protect my garden, i would ideally like it back to how it was before but obviously this is impossible.
Vickers19 - 8-Aug-17 @ 8:55 PM
matt1978 - Your Question:
My parents garden is adjacent to council owned land which is overgrown. This overgrowth is obstructing access to their fence and making essential maintenance impossible. Do my parents have a right to access and can they force the council to cut back the shrubbery so they can maintain their fence and stop any further damage. The council previously carried out regular pruning of the shrubs but stopped 2 years ago. Thanks for any advice

Our Response:
Have they asked the council about this? They can cut back any overgrowth on their side of the fence but can't access neighbouring land without permission.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:04 PM
Lcoles - Your Question:
I need to gain access to neighbour's land in order to carry our repairs on my building which they caused. What claim form do I need in order to have the access granted? The works are essential and I have had a RICS surveyor report on them. My neighbours are dreadful. They refuse to get on with the repairs themselves despite agreeing in writing they would do it. Anyway, I need to get on with it before winter. Please advise which form I would need to obtain in order to be granted the access. I just cannot find any clear info on this online!Thanks. Leah.

Our Response:
Check with a solicitor. It's likely that the court form you need is simply the N208 form - you will have to state the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:36 AM
My mother in law recently passed away and property currently going through probate. I have been keeping an eye on the garden etc however on my last visit I was astounded to find that some tree's in the back garden had been removed and others severely cut back, no contact had been made to ask permission andmost of the work undertaken must have been performed within the property back garden. all branches etc have been left. Whilst she lived there I used to maintain the gardens and permission was given to neighbours to trim only overhanging branches. The damage is done now "so to speak" but should they be at least responsible for paying for the clearance?
Ron - 8-Aug-17 @ 10:32 AM
Amcb - Your Question:
Hi, I have just put my house up on the market and part of the description is off road parking. We live in a flat, the lower flat part of 4 in a block. We had no parking when we moved in and so decided to half our back garden and create a space for the cars to go. My upstairs neighbout has disputed this saying that the shared driveway is only shared so far and then the rest is hers. She is apparently planning on putting up a gate only allowing access to our drive from a pedestrian gate. So we wouldn't be able to park the cars there. My neighbour is a nightmare and I really don't know what to do with this. Why didn't she mention this when we were converting the garden to a drive? On the title deeds it does say pedestrian access so I don't think we are going to be able to continue using the description on the property with a drive. Is there any way we would be granted access for a car?

Our Response:
It sounds as though this might be difficult to get around, especially if you only have pedestrian access rights. You might have to try and come to some agreement with the neighbour and or seek legal advice. In the meantime, you should remove the clause about off road parking from the sales particulars.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Aug-17 @ 12:43 PM
my parents garden is adjacent to council owned land which is overgrown. This overgrowth is obstructing access to their fence and making essential maintenance impossible. Do my parents have a right to access and can they force the council to cut back the shrubbery so they can maintain their fence and stop any further damage. The council previously carried out regular pruning of the shrubs but stopped 2 years ago. Thanks for any advice
matt1978 - 5-Aug-17 @ 10:10 PM
I need to gain access to neighbour's land in order to carry our repairs on my building which they caused. What claim form do I need in order to have the access granted? The works are essential and I have had a RICS surveyor report on them. My neighbours are dreadful. They refuse to get on with the repairs themselves despite agreeing in writing they would do it. Anyway, I need to get on with it before winter. Please advise which form I would need to obtain in order to be granted the access. I just cannot find any clear info on this online! Thanks. Leah.
Lcoles - 5-Aug-17 @ 11:22 AM
GeraGhty74 - Your Question:
HiOur terraced houses have to be painted every 5 years and we have been granting neighbours access over our roof. Now we are having to replace the roof due to numerous leaks which we suspect we caused by workmen clambering over it with ladders.It is possible for them to erect scaffolding in front of their house to do the painting work. ( with difficulty). Can I refuse them access to my roof. I am usually away when it is done. How can ensure they do not do it without us knowing

Our Response:
Access to neighbouring property for repairs and maintenance normally comes with a proviso that any damage is paid for etc. If you have evidence that the damage has been caused by the neighbours' workmen...you should provide that and use that as your reason for the request. If they refuse and you think it's not unreasonable condition, you may have to use the court process.
ProblemNeighbours - 4-Aug-17 @ 2:32 PM
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