When Can An Order be Made to Access Your Neighbour's Land?

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 makes provision for court to grant an “access order” where one landowner (“A”) wishes to enter land belonging to another (“B”). The order can only be made if it is “reasonably necessary” for the preservation of the whole or part of A’s land and the works are impossible, or substantially more difficult, unless he has access to B’s land. The order can be made on terms, e.g. as to compensation.

The issue was recently tested in the case Prime London Holdings 11 Ltd v Thurloe Lodge Ltd [2022] EWHC 303 (Ch). The claimant wished to redevelop its property and requested access through a passageway owned by its neighbour, the defendant, in order to enable it to erect scaffolding and re-render and repaint a wall at the rear of the property. The defendant refused to give access, in part because it feared that the works would delay its own redevelopment project. The claimant sought an order under the 1992 Act.

The order was granted. The works were properly considered works of preservation, both as regards the integrity of the wall and in restoring the property to a state of presentation that was consistent with the character of other properties in the area. It was common ground that the works could not be done without access through the passageway. The court did not accept that there would be any delay to the defendants’ own building works. Any prejudice that the defendant would suffer was not such as to make it unreasonable for the court to grant the order. The court identified certain matters which would require financial compensation (e.g. costs incurred by the defendant in having a suitable professional oversee the works) and, if they could not be agreed, made provision for those to be determined once the works had been completed.

For advice on these matter please contact Oliver Kew ato.kew@hewetts.co.uk

Published on 24/03/2022

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