Neighbour's rights - what you need to know before you make an offer?

| 4 min read

Before you make an offer on a home that you like, you should be aware of your potential neighbours' property rights and how they may affect you and the complete enjoyment of your ownership.

What are the common property rights that neighbours have?

By operation of law, neighbours are granted particular property rights which allow them to access your land for a handful of reasons.

Right of access for repairs and preservation

The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 grants you and your neighbour the right to access each other's property and where entering the neighbour's property is required to access your own property to carry out repair and preservation works.

However, the repair and preservation works for which you can access your neighbour's property are as follows:

  • Maintenance, repair or renewal of the property;
  • Clearance, repair or renewal of any drain, sewer, pipe, or cable;
  • Treatment, cutting back, felling, removal or replacement of any hedge, tree, shrub or another growing thing which is or in danger of becoming damaged, diseased, dangerous, insecurely rooted or dead;
  • The filling in or clearance of any ditch.

If your neighbours are friendly, they will have no issue with allowing you onto their property to carry out repair and preservation work. However, if they do refuse, you can apply to the court for an order of access.

Nevertheless, the court is not obligated to grant a right of access if the court is of the opinion that an order of access will cause unreasonable disturbance to your neighbour. You should also be aware that the court can award compensation base on the inconvenience your neighbour will face.

Therefore, before you make an offer, talk to the seller about the neighbours so that you can gauge what kind of people they are.

Right of support

Unless your desired property is surrounded by a large garden and is not attached to any adjacent neighbour's property, you should be aware of the right of support because this may affect any alteration plans you have regarding the property.

The Party Wall etc. Act 1996 covers walls that are shared with your neighbours. The Act also applies to shared walls between semi-detached and terraced houses, or structures such as the floors between flats and garden boundary walls. If you plan on taking down any part of the property, you have to ensure that your neighbour's wall will be fully supported and bear any additional costs.

Furthermore, you cannot carry out any excavation works within 3 - 6 meters of the property boundary to protect our neighbour's ground or walls from collapsing during any excavation work you may be carrying out.

Besides that, you may also not be aware whether your potential neighbours are in dispute over the property's boundary walls or shared areas. To find this out, go through the TA6 Property Information Form. It will provide you will other practical information relating to the neighbours. Click here for further information on boundary disputes with neighbours.

Right to light

Except for cases in which a court has granted an easement, there is no right to light. The courts will only grant an easement where the light has been enjoyed uninterruptedly for 20 years.  Further, it such amount of light as is required for continuous use and enjoyment of the property.

So it will prove very costly to you if you were planning on carrying out some development works which can disrupt the easement over your desired property.

Right to a view

There is no right to a view. Therefore, you should investigate whether any developments or planning applications are pending.

Please note that the information provided on this page:

  • Does not provide a complete or authoritative statement of the law;
  • Does not constitute legal advice by Net Lawman;
  • Does not create a contractual relationship;
  • Does not form part of any other advice, whether paid or free.
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