We can’t fix our gutter because our neighbour won’t allow ladders on his land
A works order from a court will be required if your neighbour refuses to relent
We were unable to do the fourth side (which has a bad leak) as our neighbour wouldn’t allow ladders on his property. Photograph: iStock
We recently replaced the soffits and fascia on three sides of our detached two-storey house. We were unable to do the fourth side, which has a bad leak, as our neighbour wouldn’t allow ladders on his property. We would be grateful for any advice you may have on this matter.
It is unfortunate your neighbour will not co-operate with you, especially as you have already completed part of your work.
The situation you describe is provided for in sections 43-47, inclusive, of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009. These sections provide for the access to adjoining property for inspection, maintenance, repair and related activities, to a boundary feature or building close to a boundary, in circumstances where this access is necessary in order to carry out the work required. A works order from the District Court is required.
If you decide on this course of action, you should first engage a competent person to prepare a short factual report setting out the nature of the problem/damage causing the leak; the consequences of not dealing with it; the nature of the repair necessary; the method of carrying out the repair, and the access required to the neighbouring property in order to carry out that repair.
This short report should be supported by photographs that clearly demonstrate the defective area/damage and its location in relation to the property boundary. If the defective area or damage is not clearly visible it may be advisable to engage a chartered building surveyor to inspect it and prepare the report.
The purpose of the report is to advise your solicitor, who will then be better informed when applying to the court for a works order. You should ask your solicitor’s advice in relation to insurance liability and the cover required by the contractor who is to carry out the work. This may be a concern to your neighbour and, consequently, be raised in relation to the granting of the works order.
You may feel that the process outlined is somewhat extreme for what is routine house maintenance. However, the 2009 Act provides for a wide range of boundary proximity situations in which access to adjoining property is necessary in order to carry out such routine inspections, repairs and maintenance.
In order to limit the fallout with your neighbour, you should ensure that they are fully aware of the nature of the maintenance necessary, are reassured in relation to your contractor’s insurance cover and are advised that you have no other option except to get a works order from the District Court if they cannot accede to your request for access.
Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer and a member of SCSI. scsi.ie