How to legally access your neighbours land

Posted on Aug 25, 2019 by Peter Mullen   |   Categories: Litigation & Dispute Resolution

If you were to enter another person’s land without their consent or without a lawful reason you would be trespassing.

So what if you required access to your neighbour’s property to carry out work on your own land but they refused you access? What are your legal options?

In NSW, the Local Court has the power to make what is known as a Neighbouring Land Access Order. An access order allows you to enter adjoining or adjacent land for the purpose of carrying out work on your own land.

What Types Of Work?
Section 12 of the NSW Access to Neighbouring Land Act lists some of the kinds of work for which an access order may be made. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
• carrying out work of construction, repair, maintenance, improvement, decoration, alteration, adjustment, renewal or demolition of buildings and other structures;
• carrying out inspections;
• identifying the course of drains, sewers, pipes or cables and renewing, repairing or clearing them;
• identifying whether any hedge, tree or shrub is dangerous, dead, diseased, damaged or insecurely rooted; and
• removing, felling, cutting back or treating any hedge, tree or shrub.

How Do I Apply?
An eligible person can make an application to the Local Court. However, before granting an access order, the court must be satisfied that the applicant has made a reasonable effort to reach agreement with the owner of the neighbouring land, and that 21 days notice has been given.

What Does The Court Consider?
Before determining an application, the court must consider the following:
• Whether the work cannot be carried out or would be substantially more difficult or expensive to carry out without access to the land; and
• Whether the access would cause unreasonable hardship.

If the court grants an access order, the owner of the neighbouring land must allow you access to their property.

The Local Court also has the power to make what is known as a Utility Service Access Order. As the name suggests, a utility service access order provides access to another person’s land for the purpose of carrying out work in connection with a utility service, such as electricity or gas.

If you are experiencing difficulty in obtaining access to your neighbour’s land, contact Baker Love Lawyers to discuss making an application for a land access order or utility service access order.