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Can I Access My Neighbour’s Land To Carry Out Building Works To My Home?

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If you have a building or renovation project planned, it may be the case that you will need to carry out works to your property that cannot be done without accessing your neighbour’s land – for instance, to install scaffolding or to re-point a wall.

Generally speaking, unless under specific circumstances, accessing your neighbours land without their permission is trespassing.

Our advice is to always approach your neighbour first before accessing their property. To maintain a good relationship with your neighbour, you should always open a dialogue via face-to-face or writing to your neighbour.

If your works are such that you need to serve Party Wall Act notices, then under the Party Wall Act 1996, you may be able to have access ordered to your neighbours’ land even without their consent. If the works are not works falling under the Party Wall Act, then you will need a specific right of access, either by permission (so agreeing on a licence) or if the neighbours refuse, by applying to the court for an access order.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 allows access to be ordered to adjoining or adjacent land to carry out basic preservation works to your own property. You may get access to your neighbours land for what is defined as ‘basic preservation’ maintenance.

The Act defines basic preservation works as:

  • maintenance, repair or renewal of a building;
  • clearance, repair or renewal of a drain, sewer, pipe or cable;
  • the treatment/cutting back/felling/removal or replacement of any hedge, tree, shrub or other growing thing which is, or is in danger of becoming, damaged, diseased, dangerous, insecurely rooted or dead;
  • the filling in/clearance of a ditch.

But, crucially, the Act will normally not allow access for building an extension as this is not maintenance, repair or renewal. There are, however, potentially technical arguments for allowing such works to be ordered.

If your neighbours do not agree to permission to carry out the works required, an application for an access order must be made to the court. We would strongly recommend you obtain expert legal advice before making the application or writing to your neighbours.

The court will need to consider if the works intended fall within the defined works allowed by the Act. The works must be reasonably necessary to preserve the relevant land, and it must be decided they cannot be carried out, or would be very difficult to carry out, without entry onto the adjoining land.

For enquiries relating to this, or any other dispute, contact us today for a free, no 0bligation chat.

Chloe Doggett

Posted:

Chloe Doggett

Associate

Chloe is an Associate in the Commercial Litigation team. She acts for private individuals, large and small businesses and charities on a wide range of legal matters from adverse possession, right of way disputes and other property litigation.