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Home » Blog » Building Surveying » Access Licences » When Do I need an Access Licence?

When Do I need an Access Licence?

Mar 18, 2024


Hello and welcome to today’s property surveying blog post, in today’s topic we are going to be looking over building surveying procedures and taking a look into what is an access licence.

Can you access your neighbour’s land without an access licence?

Firstly, let us look at if they are any other methods that we can use to access a neighbour’s land other than an access licence.

They are certain forms of legislation that are in place to grant you access to your neighbour’s property such as the Access to Neighboring Land Act 1992, this piece of legislation was designed for when preservation, remedial and repair works would be necessary on your property that would require access to your neighbour’s property.

Typically, maintenance to roofs or flank walls whereby the property borders another.

So if the planned works consist solely of necessary repair work then we would be able to use the Access to Neighbouring Land Act 1992 to gain access to your neighbour’s land by applying through the courts, but if the planned works are rather classed as development the Act would no longer apply and so we would not be able to use it to gain access on to the neighbouring land.

Another piece of legislation that can be used for access is the Party Wall etc Act 1996,  this can be used to grant access to your neighbour’s land through the use of Section 8, although access will only be granted under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 if access is deemed necessary and the works could not be completed without access.

Although if access was not necessary for completing the planned works, even if it will take longer without access or if the final result may not look as clean it is still not a requirement to grant access through the Party Wall etc Act 1996.

So, if we are unable to use the other methods of access then we must gain an access licence to access your neighbour’s land for your planned works.

What is an access license?

An access licence is an owner-to-owner contract that is required when one land owner wants to access the land, typically for the purpose of planned construction work.

This can include not only the land itself but also to the roof and even air space.

What clauses are typically included in an access licence?

Access Duration

This would stipulate the time that you will be allowed to access the neighbouring land and will include what notice would have to be given before access can be gained. This could range from days to months or even years, so this is something that we would recommend having a discussion with your surveyor and allowing a duration of access that you are comfortable with.

Access Rent

This clause will stipulate what you will pay for accessing the land, it is up to the discretion of the neighbours on how much rent they will charge. Although generally this will be finalised and agreed upon by the Surveyors who are drafting and issuing the licence and will likely include a penalty figure if access goes over the agreed duration in the licence.

Access Protections

A protection clause will stipulate what protections are going to be out in place for the neighbour’s property and will vary depending on the types of that are taking place. So, in cases where scaffolding has to be erected onto the neighbouring property, the scaffolding would have to have adequate coverage to prevent dust or debris from entering the neighbouring land. 

Access Damages

Damages would refer to any damage that is caused by the contractors or works, the damage needs to be rectified by way of monetary compensation or having your contractors rectify the damage.

Access Security

Security refers to funds are generally held in escrow, in case the licence is not adhered to or if damage is caused.

Access Schedule of condition Reports

The vast majority of licences will have in place a clause that will stipulate that prior to the works commencing there will be a Schedule of Condition undertaken of the neighbouring property so a thorough record is in place and can be referred to after the duration of access is over to see if any damage has been caused.

I hope this has given you insight into what an access license is, if you have any further questions in regards to today’s blog post or any of the other services that we offer here at Stokemont then please feel free to get in touch today by either sending us an email or giving us a call and one of our experienced surveyors would be happy to assist and advise.

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