Securing access across a neighbours land can often be vital to carry out construction work. There is no automatic right to access a neighbours land for new construction work, other than under the provisions of the Party Wall Act.
In this article, we will delve into the details of gaining access to a neighbours land for notifiable works under the Party Wall Act and provide a comprehensive understanding of the access rights available.
Section 8 of the Party Wall Act specifically addresses the issue of accessing neighbouring land to carry out notifiable works. Under Section 8, a building owner has the right to access neighbouring land, subject to certain conditions and requirements.
The key aspects of Section 8 include :
Notification before Accessing Neighbouring Land
Before gaining access to the neighbouring land, the building owner must provide prior written notice to the adjoining owner(s). The notice must include detailed information about the proposed work, the intended date of access, and the duration of access required. This notice should be served at least 14 days before the intended access date.
Access to Neighbours Land for Specific Purposes
Section 8 of the Party Wall Act allows access to the neighbouring land for a range of specific purposes, including (but not limited to):
a. Carrying out necessary works to a party wall or structure (be that raising, demolishing or rebuilding the structure).
b. Exercising the right to repair or strengthen a party wall on account of defect.
c. Building a new wall on or up to the line of junction between the properties.
Resolving Access Disputes
If there is a dispute relating to access to a neighbours land then the matter is determined by the appointed surveyors in a Party Wall Award. An Award sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party and helps resolve any dispute that may arise during the construction process.
Many party wall surveyors issue standard template party wall notices with vague wording concerning the rights they wish to access under the Act. This sort of notice to an Adjoining Owner is not a valid access notice as it does not fulfil all of the obligations set out above. Specifically, a valid notice must include the date and duration of access and contain details of that access including, for instance, protective measures to be taken.
Valid and correct service of a notice to gain access over neighbouring land must be served to give a reasonable opportunity for Adjoining Owners to consider the proposals and prepare for having a section of their property accessed for a period of time.
Conclusion : Access to Neighbours Land
Section 8 of the Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a vital framework for accessing neighbouring land when carrying out notifiable works.
By following the guidelines laid out in this article, both Building owners and Adjoining owners can ensure that their rights and interests are protected throughout the process.
If you are planning construction or renovation work that may require access to neighbouring land, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the details of Section 8. You should seek professional advice from a surveyor experienced in party wall matters to ensure compliance with the legal requirements and to maintain a positive relationship with your neighbours.
Remember, open communication, transparency, and cooperation between all parties involved are key to successfully navigating the process and minimizing any potential disputes.
If you need assistance with the above or anything else then please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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For further help and advice on access to a neighbours land for construction, please get in touch.
As a Building Owner planning work to your property please get in touch for help and advice to manage the Party Wall process.
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For information on how the Party Wall Act affects you see our Party Wall Fact Sheet.
You can also find further information in our Party Wall FAQs. The FAQs have been compiled from questions we are often asked about the Act.
There is some further information in the government’s explanatory booklet on the Party Wall process.
To get your online quote for Party Wall advice, send us the details of your project.
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To contact a Party Wall surveyor that's local to you, see details of our teams in :
For advice direct from one of our Surveyors, please call our Enquiry line on 020 4534 3135.
If you are planning work that is covered by the Act, or if you have received notice of work from a neighbour and want advice on how best to protect your property please contact: