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Going onto your neighbour's land

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Going on to your neighbour's land

England and Wales

Often it is vital for one neighbour to go on to the land of another to carry out repairs to their own property. Accordingly, there is a legal right that allows this under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992.

Generally, if you go onto your neighbour's land without their permission, you are trespassing. However, if you need to repair your home and to do so need access via your neighbour's land, you may go onto your neighbour's land without getting their permission.

In order to preserve good relations with your neighbours, you should still ask their permission before going on their land. If you have a relationship with your neighbour, it's always preferable to speak to them face to face, but you can also request access in a letter. If they refuse and try to stop entry, you can seek an order from the court forcing them to give you access. The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 enables access to adjoining or adjacent land for the purpose of carrying out 'basic preservation works' to one's own property. Basic preservation works includes:

  • 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 other plant that is dead, diseased, insecurely rooted or which is likely to be dangerous.
If you need to be granted right of access, proceedings must be commenced in the County Court. The court will grant an access order if it is satisfied that the preservation works are:

  • Reasonably necessary for the preservation of the relevant land; and
  • That they cannot be carried out, or would be very difficult to carry out, without entry onto the adjoining land.
Scotland

In general, there is no right to access your neighbour's land for the purposes of repair in Scotland.

Such a right of access for the express purpose of repair or maintenance is largely unnecessary due to the wide ranging access rights granted under the Scottish Land Reform Act.

Notably, those who live in a tenement (such as a block of flats) have new rights under the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004. This Act includes provision allowing owners of a property in a tenement reasonable access for repairs etc. over the property of other owners.

For more information on the Scottish right of access, see our section 'Trespassing'

Northern Ireland

Often it is vital for one neighbour to go on to the land of another to carry out repairs to their own property. Generally, in properties where such a requirement may be needed, there will be covenants in the title deeds granting a right of access for repairs for you and for your neighbour. However, this right will usually require you to seek permission and give your neighbour notice as well as imposing a duty on you to repair any damage done to your neighbour's property during the course of your repairs.

It is always preferable to speak to your neighbour face to face, but you can also request access in a letter. If they refuse and try to stop entry, you can seek an order from the court forcing them to give you access. However, before commencing any legal action, you should seek independent legal advice as such action could prove costly.