Access to neighbouring land
Access to neighbouring land

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Access to neighbouring land
  • Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992
  • Application for access order
  • Enforcement
  • Third parties

It can be impracticable to carry out works of repair or improvement to land without going onto another person's land (eg where the building line is very close to the boundary). At common law there is no right of entry without:

  1. an easement over the neighbouring land, or

  2. consent of the adjoining owner

Unauthorised entry is a trespass and can be restrained by injunction, even where the person needing to enter the neighbouring land is required by a local authority to carry out works to a dangerous building.

Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 (ANLA 1992) provides for the making of a court order allowing access, but only in very limited circumstances. The applicant must show that the proposed works are:

  1. reasonably necessary for the preservation of the whole or any part of his land, and

  2. it is either impossible or substantially more difficult to carry out those works without access to the neighbouring land

Where the main works meet the statutory test, an access order can also permit improvements or demolition works that are incidental to them.

‘Reasonably necessary’

In BPT v Patterson, the County Court decided that the relevant works to a tree were not reasonably necessary. They might alleviate the existing subsidence, but there would then be a real risk of heave. The