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: 17 Jan 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 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
ericsmalls - Your Question:
My neighbour has had scaffold erected and it over hangs my boundary and is braced against my house and one of my windows so the window no longer opens.The neighbour has never approached us and I am trying but failing to contact the scaffold company. Where do I stand legally with this as it is preventing me opening a window in my sons room and potentially causing damage to the UPVC.Many thanks

Our Response:
Speak to the neighbour if you can't contact the scaffolding company directly. Isthere a builder on site you can ask? If you can't make contact with the neighbour either, put a note through their door saying you can't open your window, that the scaffolding has damaged the window frame and that you need to find a quick resolution to the problem.Is this window an escape route? If so, the scaffolding will need to be taken down immediately (your council's building regulations officer might be able to help you on this). If there's an alternative means of escape then just try and agree on a completion date for the works and to be compensation for any damage.
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Dec-16 @ 12:07 PM
My neighbour has had scaffold erected and it over hangs my boundary and is braced against my house and one of my windows so the window no longer opens. The neighbour has never approached us and I am trying but failing to contact the scaffold company. Where do I stand legally with this as it is preventing me opening a window in my sons room and potentially causing damage to the UPVC. Many thanks
ericsmalls - 5-Dec-16 @ 2:36 PM
goulish gauntlet - Your Question:
I live in a block of six.the door entry system is wooden and always getting broken by unwanted guests to gain access.How can I and the neighbours get the council to put a metal door system installed

Our Response:
Is it council property? Write to them and request it. Get all the other residents to sign it too. If you're not happy with the response, contact your local councillor.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Nov-16 @ 11:41 AM
I live in a block of six. the door entry system is wooden and always getting broken by unwanted guests to gain access. How can I and the neighbours get the council to put a metal door system installed
goulish gauntlet - 29-Nov-16 @ 5:36 AM
My neighbour has denied us access to her drive to replace our garage window andfaciaboard, Is she allowed to do this?.
Cindy - 26-Nov-16 @ 1:09 PM
I have damp on my gable end of my house. I've had two damp courses done in the same location, second time round and seems to have worked apart from a patch of two foot where the floor boards are extremely wet. My next door neighbours run some sort of dog kennel place and have kennels backed up against my wall, I need to gain access to the wall as I'm not sure what the problem is. Is my neighbour obliged to give me access? This does mean her having to move kennels that are more like sheds. I need access for maintenance work.
Pam - 25-Nov-16 @ 9:51 PM
I have neighbourhood issues i have a shared path with my neighbour she has someone take her buckets out for collection. Can i stop this person in particular from taking her buckets out and request the local council take her buckets out
Mafia mamma - 20-Nov-16 @ 9:42 PM
We are currently having our cottage rethatched. At one side of the cottage is a large field belonging to a farmer. She has flatly refused us entry to that field to allow the thatchers to stand ladders. This work would be for only one day and would not interrupt her business in any way. Despite all tries at communications she has refused. Debbie
Deb - 20-Nov-16 @ 8:04 AM
Erin - Your Question:
I live in the upper flat of a terrace house. My next door neighbours have put up scaffolding and are commencing building work. None of it touches my building however the scaffolding is a few feet to the side of my bedroom window. I can practically hear the builder gulp his tea. I work long nights so I obviously sleep during the day and this has become extremely disruptive. From 10am onwards I am simply unable to sleep after having finished work two hours previously. I have never spoken to my neighbours so they don't know my work patterns. I also have no idea how long this work will go on for but I'm very worried for my health. Is there anything I can do? Aside from buy industrial ear plugs?

Our Response:
Not really unless the work is planned to last a significant length of time, in which circumstance you could try and negotiate a change in the work patterns of the builders (but that may of course have a knock on effect on other neighbours).
ProblemNeighbours - 16-Nov-16 @ 11:55 AM
I live in the upper flat of a terrace house. My next door neighbours have put up scaffolding and are commencing building work. None of it touches my building however the scaffolding is a few feet to the side of my bedroom window. I can practically hear the builder gulp his tea. I work long nights so I obviously sleep during the day and this has become extremely disruptive. From 10am onwards I am simply unable to sleep after having finished work two hours previously. I have never spoken to my neighbours so they don't know my work patterns. I also have no idea how long this work will go on for but I'm very worried for my health. Is there anything I can do? Aside from buy industrial ear plugs?
Erin - 15-Nov-16 @ 4:06 PM
Bubbles - Your Question:
The landlord of the terraced house next door to myself has recently sent me a bill for work done on the roof of my property that 1 I didn't agree to and 2 I wasn't aware I needed. I had agreed to get a roofer to come and look at my roof to see if there was a leak. I had looked in the loft myself and there didn't appear to be a problem. I even agreed to the same roofer as he had got the quote on. Then due to bad weather the roofer cancelled 3 times, I then went travelling for 3 weeks. The work has been carried out by a different roofer than the original one he asked me to call and now has sent me the bill for work done on my property that I didn't even agree to. He said he will take me through small claims court If I don't pay. Any ideas?

Our Response:
If you genuinely didn't agree to the work and had not known it was needed, then you may be able to argue your case in the courts.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Nov-16 @ 1:52 PM
The landlord of the terraced house next door to myself has recently sent me a bill for work done on the roof of my property that 1 I didn't agree to and 2 I wasn't aware I needed. I had agreed to get a roofer to come and look at my roof to see if there was a leak. I had looked in the loft myself and there didn't appear to be a problem. I even agreed to the same roofer as he had got the quote on. Then due to bad weather the roofer cancelled 3 times, I then went travelling for 3 weeks. The work has been carried out by a different roofer than the original one he asked me to call and now has sent me the bill for work done on my property that I didn't even agree to. He said he will take me through small claims court If I don't pay. Any ideas?
Bubbles - 14-Nov-16 @ 10:20 AM
Recently our neighbour built an extension to their property, It has taken about 6 months, during this time we have granted them permission to access our property when needed on a case by case basis. We even allowed them to put scaffolding up blocking some of our pathway to our garden, they promised it would only be for three weeks, turned out to be up for three months and got in the way of our own work by blocking our access. Further to these works they have damaged our steps, broken concrete in the alley, knocked down a wall which believe was ours, and left a mess everywhere, which despite promising to do so they have not cleared up yet. We have tried to be reasonable and not obstructive, letting them have access as needed, moving our cars when they need to get trucks in, even allowing them to use our electricity when the owners were out etc etc. A couple of weeks ago they trespassed on to our property and put in a brand new sewage pipe down the side passage to our house, the pipe is about 3m long looks really bad, they cut through our wooden gate, and it probably does not meet building specifications. We reasonably, would have liked advanced notice of these works so we could understand if it would cause us problems before they went ahead. They promised to clean this up and box the pipe up, however despite waiting in for two days for someone to come it they never did. Subsequent to this we politely asked them face to face to contact us in advance and generally be considerate (we even gave them our mobile number), a couple of nights back we found their builders on our property without permission in total darkness, we politely asked them to leave to get a whole load of abuse from the builders. So again we went to see the neighbours, their reaction was dismissive and confrontational. I believe they still need access for the following, to put another drainage pipe along our alley way, box up the current pipe, fix their guttering and to carry out any remedial repairs and clean up our property. My concern right now is, if we allow them continued access they will complete the work they need, but not clean up after themselves and make good any damage caused, I understand they are running out of money and have “issues” with their builders, so I work to put things right for us Is probably very low down on their list. So legally I have a couple of questions: a) Can we hold them accountable for damage caused. b) Can we prevent them having access until they provide us details of the work they will undertake, (including remedial work) c) Where they did trespass without permission and put in new structures, are these structures legal, is there any legal recourse on this? d) Do they have legal rights to access the property to put in place or maintain new structures. (not existing) (Note there is no right of access in our deeds)
Mart - 7-Nov-16 @ 3:27 PM
We are bordered by a privately owned care home with its own privately owned access drive.Our trees overhang this drive; is it our responsibility to cut back the trees where they overhang the access drive, or is this the responsibility of the nursing home?
xante - 4-Nov-16 @ 8:08 AM
Pete: I will add another bit to my nickname to avoid confusion: This is illegal development ? Unless he had planning permission 'they' should serve a notice on him NOW. Unless he applied for building regulation approval prior to development or has applied retrospectively, it is still illegal development. He does not NEED to come onto your property, there are various construction methods that he could use that would show compliance without the need for you to strip your rooms, and I cannot imagine you should have too anyway ! Unless he has used some hybrid method, if he has fully complied with correct design for sound transmittance, you may have to prove the sound air borne or thro the building fabric exceeds acceptable standards. as to him taking you to court take him, Judge Rinder would embarrass him on TV. Courts are not very understanding of illegal development regardless of of retro applications causing neighbours costs and nuisance.
Pete - 29-Oct-16 @ 3:51 PM
My neighbour turned his house into flats. He did not serve party wall agreement. He did not tell building control. The party wall is now of a lower acoustic quality. Building control have askked him to take a sound test. I let him into my home to do that. His engineer refused to sign for the results when he did the test. He told me it had passed. I do not think it did. It has been 20 months since the test and he has not submitted it to local building control. He only told them last week that the test was done and it passed. But he cannot get the results from the engineer because i eas rude to him. All i asked was for some i.d and a signiture for the test results.He is now taking me to court to force me to give him access again using the neighbourland act. He says that he has to have access on preservation grounds....what should i do and can i refuse? I have told you the truth. A sound test will mean me emptying 3 bedrooms totally back to floor boards....any advice?
Pete - 28-Oct-16 @ 11:36 PM
We live in a terraced cottage & the next door's chimney was badly damaged by a chimney sweep.Masonry has fallen into our frontage which I have collected & two weeks ago I heard further masonry fall within our attic.we have been asked to give permission to access our property for repair so I have said we would give immediate permission if they had their trees trimmed back to their boundary. They are very large & overhang our property & make our garage wet through . Our meeting was very amicable but they have since not returnedour agreement paper request. I have since had an abusive phone call from Son to say "it is disgusting that we will not give access permission" I was working on the premise of good neighbourliness.Rhey say I am now responsible if the chimney falls down. Help.
Grimmo - 17-Oct-16 @ 7:31 PM
I am the owner of an end cottage and the two adjacent cottages are owned by the same person who rents them out. My kitchen/end wall overlooks the courtyard of the two cottages. It is not a boundary wall. I had a sloping Perspex roof over the kitchen and a window overlooking the courtyard. I got planning to undertake a small extension to the other side of my house and to replace this roof with a flat roof and remove and block up the window. The wall may be one block higher at the apex than the old wall. I have always got on with the owner of the cottages.He knew about the work, he had the plans and actually kept an eye on the build for me when I was not there. When it came to rendering and painting the wall, my builder got consent from the tenants. However, the owner who lives close by asked them to stop and forbade them access to render and paint. I spoke to him and he said he didn’t like the wall anymore and wanted it to be demolished (been there for 20 years).Rather than wait to discuss in person, he complained to the council. Nearly a year later, the Council contacted me advising me that the owner was now happy for me to access the wall to render and paint it.I have complained to the Council and they have threatened legal action for Breach of Condition Notice to comply with A3(a) of the Town and Country Planning (GPD) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2013 I have instructed a new builder as the original contract has finished and it is going to cost me £500. Can I claim the £500 back from the neighbour as this is a cost I would not have had to pay if he had allowed me to access the land in the first place?
Polly - 16-Oct-16 @ 9:09 PM
Hi, I have always had a bad relationship with my neighbour, so suggesting that we can discuss things amicably is not an option. I have shouting, swearing, screaming at my door, in the street etc. In shirt, my neighbour and I share access from the main street through an alleyway which leads to the back of our properties and back doors. She recently had a problem with her drains which are in the alleyway, she is now demanding money from me. I have through her lawyer to see estimates for the work and the bill to justify what they are asking for. Now she has deliberately blocked the access to the alley by placing several large flower tubs and wrought iron gate etc. As a result I am unable to put my rubbish bins out for collection, or use the alleyway. Is it not a fire risk, can she be made to clear her belongings to grant access. Can the police make her remove her things.
Stef - 15-Oct-16 @ 7:00 PM
Parking - Your Question:
In order to access our car parking space at the end of our garden we need to use a private road and although 2 adjacent houses have access we are denied with a chain that is padlocked. We have asked for permission but have been denied resulting in my disabled husband having to park some way away from the house in the road

Our Response:
Do you have the right to use the access? I.e Is this included in your deeds? If the car parking space comes with the property, we expect access is included also. If so, you can write to the owner and tell them you will take legal/court action if your rights are denied.
ProblemNeighbours - 12-Oct-16 @ 12:56 PM
In order to access our car parking space at the end of our garden we need to use a private road and although 2 adjacent houses have access we are denied with a chain that is padlocked. We have asked for permission but have been denied resulting in my disabled husband having to park some way away from the house in the road
Parking - 11-Oct-16 @ 1:32 PM
Hi my neighbour has built a lean to shed against my wall which means I have to pay for expensive scaffolding to work above it. Is she allowed to do this? Also the wall below her lean to is showing signs of damp on the inside. Is she responsible to fix this?
Mac - 8-Oct-16 @ 10:07 AM
Chicken79 - Your Question:
Hi, it is in our deeds that we have access over neighbours land for our bulk lpg delivery, without this we have no heating. He is making it very difficult and can see him refusing next time!! We have a young family and are dreading the next few months. What can we do legally? Thank you

Our Response:
You can seek a legal action via the courts to ensure your neighbour allows access granted in the deeds. A solicitor's letter may be sufficient.
ProblemNeighbours - 7-Oct-16 @ 12:03 PM
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