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Ask The Legal Expert - Can I Put Scaffolding Up Without Permission

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In this week’s Ask The Legal Expert blog, we get the latest specialist advice from our Property team.

I need to put up scaffolding on the property next door but I don’t think my neighbours will agree.  What should I do?

You might actually have the legal right to go onto neighbouring land for the purposes of carrying out certain works. To find out, you can check with the Land Registry. If the register mentions any pre-registration deeds containing “easements” (i.e. rights over a third party’s lands) to carry out certain maintenance works, then you are in luck.

If your property is not yet registered with the Land Registry you can to check your title deeds for similar provision, though this is a rare scenario.

You do, however, have recourse to the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992. The Act allows the court to grant an applicant a temporary right of access in order to carry out basic preservation works - works necessary to repair or maintain the applicant’s property.

However, The Act draws an important distinction between preservation works and works which are simply about improving the property:  the court will not grant a right of access for the latter.

Be aware too that the court will not grant right of access if that access can be gained via  an alternative route – even if that route is less convenient or more expensive for you to take.

The court is not obliged to grant a right of access if it would cause unreasonable disturbance or interference to your neighbour and, if a right of access is granted, the court can award compensation based on a measure of the inconvenience and damage to the neighbouring property.

If you feel your neighbour is unlikely to grant you a temporary means of access it is possible that, by drawing their attention to the existence of the Act, the two of you could agree upon a temporary licence. That should be drawn up legally and you might want to ask a surveyor to advise on any appropriate compensation too.

Hopefully the Act will serve to achieve the required access without having to make any application to the court.

For more information please contact Jonathan Flynn on 01792 525429 or email: jonathan.flynn@jcpsolicitors.co.uk.The question posed in this blog is based on a hypothetical situation.

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