SOMETIMES clients come to us for advice when they have problems with their neighbours “trespassing” on their land for various reasons, such as carrying out work on their own property or maintaining boundaries.

In most cases these activities do not cause any issues between neighbours, but if tensions are already running high this kind of thing can be a trigger point.

You do not have an automatic right to go onto your neighbour's land without their permission. This would amount to a trespass.

Therefore, if you need to go via your neighbour’s garden to carry out repairs or maintenance you need to ask their permission. Hopefully that will be granted, but if not you do have rights under the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 which provides that you can make an application to the court for permission to enter on to your neighbour's land in order to “carry out works” to adjoining or adjacent land where the owner does not give you consent.

The court will make an order provided:

- the works are reasonably necessary for the protection of the land (which includes buildings)

- and they cannot be carried out or would be substantially more difficult to carry out without entering onto the neighbour’s land.

An order will not be made if the neighbour would suffer unreasonable hardship.

The order will usually specify certain terms and conditions such as:

- the nature of the works to be carried out

- timeframe, hours of work etc.

- who may carry out the work

It may also provide for compensation to be paid in cases of loss and damage or substantial loss of privacy or substantial inconvenience.

So if you are planning works and need access, do please speak with your neighbour first and try to agree a plan. If you cannot agree, seek advice from your solicitor.