A- Z of Property – Access to Neighboring Land

The landowner may well be liable for trespass if she/he decides to enter a neighbour’s land without their permission, without contractual or statutory right to do so.Access to neighbouring land 1

So for instance where a landowner wishes to build or repair a wall which is on or near the boundary of their land, to build certain foundations to say strengthen an existing structure, they may wish to use The Party Wall Etc Act 1996 to help formalise the process.  The landowner may even wish to take advantage of this act when the neighbour is willing to grant access to his land so as to ensure matters are formally recorded to help avoid confusion and potentially costly delays later.

A Party Wall Surveyor, under the 1996 act, may be able to award a statutory right to both parties which, in the event of a dispute about the work or any damage caused as a result of the work, could well be a valuable document.

Following the parties having been granted an award under the act the landowner can enter onto neighbouring land, even if the neighbour is reluctant to grant access, upon giving 14 days notice of their intention to do so, as long as the access is exclusively to carry out the works described in the award. In return for granting such access the Party Wall Act Award may require the landowner to pay compensation for any inconvenience caused as a result access being granted or the works carried out.

When the works constitute necessary preservation of the property (for instance repairing buildings or lopping trees for example) the landowner can apply to the Court if necessary under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 for an Order which grants possession to a neighbour’s land. This Order will prescribe the terms of access and may well outline compensation that is to be awarded for the grant.

Access to neighbouring land 2Should the landowner do something which is considered to be in excess or outside of what was specifically permitted by the Award or Order, they will be treated as a trespasser and the neighbour could be entitled to sue them for damages as a result of their action.

If you intend to access a neighbouring land you should always consider delays and/or additional costs that may be necessary for employing professionals and start conversations early with the relevant neighbour. This can help avoid costly litigation and damages claims later.

As someone granting access to your land you should always consider whether it is worthwhile negotiating some form of compensation, potentially monetary compensation, for the privilege of granting such access as in some circumstances, in particular when large-scale development plans may be delayed or the requesting party needs access quickly, you may find this approach yields significant reward.

You should always seek the advice of a specialist surveyor when considering such matters and Castle Surveyors Ltd are experts in such matters and happy to assist should the need arise. You can contact one of our team by calling (0800) 246 1002 or by email at enquiry@castle-surveyors.co.uk

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 Castle surveyors Ltd are based in Highcliffe, Dorset and are experts in both residential and commercial property. We have many years expertise throughout the UK, in particular working in the Dorset and Hampshire areas covering the New Forest, Ringwood, Lymington, New Milton, Christchurch, Verwood, Ferndown, Bournemouth, Southbourne, Sandbanks, Poole, Canford Cliffs, Broadstone, Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Southampton, Romsey and surrounding areas