Maintaining and repairing your property can sometimes require accessing your neighbor’s land. However, entering your neighbor’s property without permission is considered trespassing. Fortunately, there are legal options available to obtain access for necessary repairs and preservation work.

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 provides a legal framework for obtaining access to a neighbor’s property for the purpose of carrying out “basic preservation works” on your own land. These works include:

Maintenance, repair, or renewal of any part of a building or structure on your land
Clearance, repair, or renewal of drains, sewers, pipes, or cables on your land
Cutting back, felling, or replacing damaged, diseased, or dangerous hedges, trees, or shrubs on your land
Filling or clearing ditches on your land

To qualify for an Access Order under this Act, you must demonstrate that the proposed works are reasonably necessary for the preservation of your land and cannot be carried out without access to your neighbor’s property.

Obtaining an Access Order

If your neighbor refuses to grant permission for access, you can apply to the County Court for an Access Order. The court will grant the order if it is satisfied that the preservation works are necessary and cannot be reasonably carried out without access to the neighboring land.

However, the court may refuse to grant an Access Order if it is satisfied that the neighbor would suffer unacceptable interference, disturbance, or hardship as a result of the access being granted.

Preserving Good Neighbor Relations

While the Access to Neighbouring Land Act provides a legal remedy for obtaining access, it is always preferable to maintain good relations with your neighbor. Before taking any legal action, try to discuss the situation with your neighbor and seek their consent for access.

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If your neighbor still refuses access and you believe you have grounds for an Access Order, it is recommended to seek independent legal advice before proceeding with court action, as it can be a costly process.

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