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When can I access my neighbour's land?

View profile for Aaron Marshall
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When you wish to access your neighbours land there are usually three paths open to you: easements, covenants, and the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (ANLA).

Easements are rights one person can have over another's land, for example, the right to use a shared garden or the right of way to walk over someone's land. Covenants can be defined as a promise made in a deed. There are two types of covenants: positive covenants which require a party to do something like cutting the hedges bordering a path, and restrictive covenants such as preventing a party from using the land for anything other than residential property. To discover if you can benefit from an easement or a covenant please consult one of our solicitors.

However, this article will focus on the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992.

What is the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (ANLA)?

There are occasions where you may need to access your neighbour's land, for example, it could be to repair the garden fence, trim the branches off an overgrown tree, or fix the gutters. Of course, the first port of call for anyone would be to ask your neighbour for access. However, what if your neighbours are being unreasonable, or your relationship with them has broken down beyond repair, what can you do?

You may be able to use the ANLA to apply to the Court for an Access Order, which would grant you the right to access your neighbours land to carry out repairs and works on your property. The ANLA can allow you to gain access to adjoining or adjacent land for the purposes of carrying out “basic preservation works,” including:

  • Maintenance, repair or renewal of a building;
  • clearance, repair, or renewal of a drain, sewer, pipe or cable;
  • filling in or clearing a ditch;
  • felling, removal or replacement of a tree, hedge or another plant that is dead, diseased, insecurely rooted or which is likely to be dangerous; and
  • such other works as the Court may deem necessary for the preservation of any land.

So what’s next?

If you wish to apply for an Access Order under the ANLA you will need to file an application at your local County Court with appropriate supporting evidence. Once the Court has reviewed your application they may grant you an Access Order, for specific purposes, if they are satisfied that the works are reasonably necessary for the preservation of the homeowner’s land, and they cannot be carried out (or it would be substantially more difficult to carry them out) if access to the neighbour’s land was not granted.

Exceptions to granting access

The Court will not grant an Access Order to a neighbour’s land if the works to be carried out would result in interference with, or disturbance of, the neighbour’s enjoyment of their land or suffering such hardship as a result of the works that it would be unreasonable to make that Order. Further, it is important to remember that the Human Rights Act 1998 protects the rights of people to enjoy their property peacefully.

What happens if an Access Order is granted?

If you are granted an Access Order, the Court will ensure that it contains full details of the nature and extent of the works to be carried out on your neighbour’s land, and when those works are to be carried out. The order will also detail if the neighbour is to be paid any compensation for any loss, damage or inconvenience they may suffer. Any of the terms of an Access Order can be varied, discharged, suspended or revived by the Court.

While the Access Order is in effect, it will bind any future purchaser of the land. If any party fails to comply with the terms of the order set out by the court, they may be ordered to pay damages to the offended party.

Contact

If you wish to discuss any of the points in this article or discuss access to a neighbour’s property please do not hesitate to contact Aaron Marshall on 0161 684 6946 at your earliest convenience.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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