A situation may arise where you are required to access neighbouring land in order to carry out maintenance works on your own property. This guide conveys all you need to know about accessing neighbouring land.
Not necessarily, if you get on well with your neighbouring landowner, this is a great start! Usually, neighbours will have little objection to you entering their property in order to carry out maintenance works to your own neighbouring property.
If the works are more than minor, it is best to enter into a fairly simple written access licence agreement. This should cover key terms such as duration of access, hours during which maintenance work can be carried out, the extent of the works to be carried out, the extent and detail of land for which access is being given, any compensation payments and insurance to cover any damage that could be caused etc.
If neighbourly relations are tense, or if access is likely to cause significant interference with your neighbour’s use and enjoyment of their property, then it may be that an agreement on access cannot be reached. Cue the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (“the Act”). The Act grants the right to make an application to the court for an order that your neighbour permit you entry upon their adjoining or adjacent land (the “servient land”) for the purpose of carrying out works to your land (the “dominant land”).
The court will grant the Access Order conditionally, on the basis that the servient landowner will not suffer interference, disturbance or hardship to such a degree that it would be unreasonable to grant access. They can also deny the request if the works are not deemed to be “preservation works” – e.g. maintenance or repair of the structure on the dominant land, clearance of drains, treatment or cutting of any hedge, tree, shrub or other growing thing that is becoming a danger.
The Act is also useful in granting the right to apply to court for an “inspection order”. This will grant you the right to enter upon the land so as to determine the extent of the maintenance works required.
You may be required to pay compensation to the servient landowner in return for being granted access. This could be if there is loss, damage or injury, substantial loss of privacy or other substantial inconvenience – or if the land is not residential. The court may also order that the owner of the dominant land pay a sum of money by way of security for any sum that might become payable to the servient owner.
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