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: 23 Apr 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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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
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?
SavanaK - 12-Mar-17 @ 3:19 PM
I live in a terraced property and it is written in the deeds that we have the right to access neighbours property/land to carry out maintenance work. Our neighbour is constantly in and our garden to access her roof. However, she gives us no warning or lets us know if there are going to be builders entering our garden. Does she have to give us warning or at least ask us if it is OK to enter our garden to do the work or can she enter as and when she wants to?
Tippee - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:42 PM
Guyver13 - Your Question:
My neighbours have set my shed on fire, smashed every window in the greenhouse, dumped rubbish on my driveway, entered my back garden to steal property, told people I'm a paedophile and verbally abused my wife. The police have been called numerous times. Their fence post has broken on their side of their property. I've flatly refused them any access to my property due to the ongoing issues we've been experiencing. Again today they got aggressive and abusive to my wife and then called 999 to get the police out. The police have charged them with wasting police time and told them to keep away from my property. If they take me to court, how likely will they get a court order to allow access to my property. I have cctv all over my property which has caught them out in numerous occasions and that's why they're getting more aggressive.

Our Response:
It sounds likely that they'll be able to fix/construct the fence from their side? If so and in view of your relationship, we suspect the courts might refuse their request. We do not however, have any real way of predicting a judge's decision sorry.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Mar-17 @ 10:50 AM
My neighbours have set my shed on fire, smashed every window in the greenhouse, dumped rubbish on my driveway, entered my back garden to steal property, told people I'm a paedophile and verbally abused my wife. The police have been called numerous times. Their fence post has broken on their side of their property. I've flatly refused them any access to my property due to the ongoing issues we've been experiencing. Again today they got aggressive and abusive to my wife and then called 999 to get the police out. The police have charged them with wasting police time and told them to keep away from my property. If they take me to court, how likely will they get a court order to allow access to my property. I have cctv all over my property which has caught them out in numerous occasions and that's why they're getting more aggressive.
Guyver13 - 26-Feb-17 @ 10:48 PM
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
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