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Temporary access to property

You must allow neighbours to access your property in order to carry out construction, repair or maintenance work on their own property. However, they must give you spoken or written notice, repair any damage they cause and restore your property to its original condition.

Where you need to work on your own property, you may demand access to part of your neighbour’s property for the duration of the work. If your neighbour refuses, you can force him or her to agree, for example by sending a formal notice followed by a court order if necessary.

What to do

If you need access to part of your neighbour’s property in order to carry out work on your own property, you must begin by giving spoken or written notice of your intentions.

Liability

Your work must not undermine or compromise the integrity of the buildings, structures or plantations on your neighbour’s property, and you must restore your neighbour’s property to its original condition. 

If your neighbour’s property is damaged in any way by your work, you must pay compensation. Compensation may be payable for damage done even if you were not at fault.

Objects or animals encroaching onto someone else's property as a result of superior or natural force

Some incidents can affect relations between neighbours. For example, the wind may blow the roof off your house and onto a neighbour's property, or an animal may jump over several fences onto land situated three properties away.

In such cases, if the owner of the property on which the objects or animals end up does not immediately seek out their original owner and return them, he or she must allow the owner to search for and recover them.

The objects or animals continue to belong to their original owner unless he or she abandons the search, in which case they become the property of the person who owns the land on which they have ended up.This person may, if he or she so wishes, ask the court to order the original owner to remove the objects or animals and restore his or her property to its original condition.

Protection of another person’s property

If a building or other structure on your land threatens to collapse onto your neighbour’s land or onto a public road, you must prevent this by repairing or demolishing it as necessary.

In addition, if you erect a building or structure or plant vegetation on your land, you must be careful not to disturb your neighbour’s land or undermine any of his or her buildings, structures or plantations.

Citizen mediation

Are you in a dispute with a neighbour? Citizen mediation can help you find a satisfactory solution for both parties.

Last update: January 31, 2022

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