🎶Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours 🎶

🎶Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours 🎶

Share This Post

Not everybody can be as happy as the residents of Ramsey Street. I remember back in the 1990ies my 5:30 fix of Neighbours was an important part of my day. Sadly though, good neighbours don’t always become good friends.

What happens where a property has suffered damage and needs to be repaired but, in order to carry out that repair, access is needed to a neighbour’s property? What happens if that neighbour refuses access? Is there anything that can done?

The most striking example I can think of from my own case handling experience was when the external wall of a block of flats needed to be repaired as subsidence damage had caused cracking. Inside was all fixed but the one external crack needed to be repaired. However, the external wall was adjacent to an electrified railway line and access needed to be granted to the railway line for the external wall to be reached so that the repair could go ahead. Gaining access to a railway line is not a straight forward job as it’s almost always in use. In that case negotiations led to night time work to set up scaffolding adjacent to the track so that the crack could be fixed. The negotiation over that access took more than 10 times longer than the work did itself.

Whilst that’s a pretty extreme example, it’s common for houses and flats to be so close together that access to certain areas for repair works, or even investigation works, require access to or over a neighbour’s land.

So what can you do if conversations over the garden fence don’t result in an agreement from your neighbour and it looks like your repair works are going to be scuppered?
Well that’s where the Access to Neighbouring Land Act can help you.If consent from your neighbour for access to their land isn’t forthcoming then entering their land without consent will be trespassing. Causing any damage to their land in the course of that trespass could amount to criminal damage.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 gives you the right to apply to Court for an order forcing your neighbour to grant access. This can be obtained for the purpose of carrying out basic preservation works to your property, including:

  1. maintenance, repair or renewal of a building

  2. clearance, repair or renewal of a drain, sewer, pipe or cable

  3. filling in or clearing a ditch

  4. felling, removal or replacement of a tree, hedge or other plant that is dead, diseased, insecurely rooted or which is likely to be dangerous

The procedure for obtaining an order from the Court is to make an application to the county court for an access order for the purpose of carrying out work to “the dominant land”.

The Court can make an access order if, and only if, it is satisfied that:

(a) the works are reasonably necessary for the preservation of the applicant’s land
(b) the work cannot be carried out, or would be substantially more difficult to carry out, without access to the neighbour’s land, and,
(c) that neither the neighbour nor anyone else would suffer inconvenience with, or disturbance of their enjoyment of the land or hardship by reason of entry by the applicant onto their land

When making an application, a draft order should be attached setting out the specific terms of the access, in particular:

  1. the work to the dominant land that may be carried out by entering upon the neighbouring land in pursuance of the order;

  2. the particular area of the neighbouring land that may be entered upon by virtue of the order for the purpose of carrying out the works, and

  3. the date on which, or the period during which, the land may be entered upon.

When granting the order, the Court may impose certain restrictions that it is felt are necessary. These act to avoid or limit the risk of loss, damage or injury to the neighbour or any other person by reason of the access order or limit any inconvenience or loss of privacy that might occur to the neighbour.

The order can be specific in setting out the manner in which the works are to be carried out, the working hours/day on which the works are to be done, the person/s who may undertake the works and what precautions need to be taken by the applicant when entering the neighbour’s land.

The Act also allows conditions to be imposed to require the applicant to pay compensation to the neighbour for any loss or damage which has occurred and for any substantial loss of privacy or substantial inconvenience; for the applicant to show that insurance cover against risk is in place and that a record of the condition of the neighbour land is made prior to the work commencing so that any alleged damage can be easily tracked.

As this is right that the applicant is asserting over land owned by the neighbour the court may order that the applicant pay the neighbour’s legal costs and expenses incurred in connection with the application with the ability of the Court to make a security for costs order to ensure that money is available in respect of such reasonable losses incurred by the neighbour.

Whilst the formalities of the Access to Neighbouring Land Act are available for use, like with any sort of litigation, starting this process off will incur expensive legal costs.

So keeping in mind the mantra from Ramsay Street, keeping neighbours as good friends will avoid the need to take these formal steps to enforce rights over someone else’s land.

Another good opportunity to shout-out mediation in these sort of situations. That can act as a half-way house where relations have broken down between neighbours but both neighbours appreciate that mediating a dispute such as this could end in a quicker and cheaper resolution.

Here at Tree Law we have a ‘Ramsay Street’ approved Access to neighbouring Land act process. This is a fixed-fee process which allows you to move forward with those claims which are struck as the access to adjacent land simply cannot be obtained. So for those tricky claims which just cannot progress to repair as a neighbour is refusing access to their land, get in touch.

Recents Posts

Share This Post

News Articles

The Sunday Times

Ive never thought of myself as an agony aunt in the traditional sense but, when I was asked by the Sunday Times to answer a

Can you do the Rubix Cube?

How many of your can complete a Rubix Cube? In a tree root subsidence claim there are so many competing interest which are often working

x  Powerful Protection for WordPress, from Shield Security
This Site Is Protected By
Shield Security