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Access to my back garden through neighbours garden?

(14 Posts)
Minion Thu 27-Mar-14 09:09:13

Hi folks in the know.
Wonder if I could pick your brains for a mo?
Basically, we are in the process of buying a semi detached house that has a side extension (completed over 14 yrs ago before the current vendor moved in).
This extension blocks the access from the front of the house to the back garden so they have a gentlemens agreement in place with their joined neighbouring house that in the even of emergency services etc need to get into our back garden, they can go through theirs.
The solicitor has highlighted this, but won't tell us if it's a legal requirement to have this is in writing to continue the gentlemens agreement, or we that we may have to pay them to have access.

I assume if we were to introduce ourselves to them etc it may be easier just to continue this arrangement with them, like our vendors do, by all accounts they're lovely, older people who regularly babysit for current owners. I'm worried that may be worried about 2 thirty something olds moving in and destroying the peace etc, however, all I want is a quiet life. No Loud parties etc.
So, do you think it's reasonable for us to go and introduce ourselves and explain the situation?
Or let the solicitors and current vendor take care of it? If it did fall through due to this issue, the vendor wouldn't be able to sell anytime cause of it?

And is it a legal requirement for access to every back garden?

So sorry if it's rambling and thanks for sticking with it. It's just been going on so long now (the house buying process, not this predicament) that it just is getting on my nerves now.
Any help, much appreciated.

BrianTheMole Thu 27-Mar-14 09:12:31

I would want it in writing and set out legally. I think its entirely possible that you could end up without access otherwise, either now or in the future. You don't want problems if you decide to sell either do you.

mistlethrush Thu 27-Mar-14 09:13:11

It can't be a legal requirement to have access to back gardens - think of those long terraces with back gardens - lots have no access except through the house.

However, my worry would be what happens if the nice neighbours move and you get someone awful next door that doesn't let you do anything...

Parietal Thu 27-Mar-14 09:13:13

many houses (e.g London) have no access from front to back garden, and there is no legal requirement for access.

if you are thinking just of emergency access (injured person in garden, ambulance on the doorstep), then I think you have to assume that neighbours will help if they are in.

If you want to cart a wheelbarrow load of garden stuff through neighbours garden every weekend, they might well say no and would be within their rights to do so.

Minion Thu 27-Mar-14 09:40:18

Yes, brilliant, that's along my line of thought, thank you.
Anyone have a clue as to how we would go about doing it legally and amicably? I really want a lovely easy life with my neighbours and just hope they like us enough to let us do it?
I can't see myself using their garden at all, I'd be slightly put out if someone requested the same in all honesty, however one day in the not too distant future I want patio doors going in and the decking area re paved, but I'm more than happy to have them going through my house to do it.

MILdesperandum Thu 27-Mar-14 10:12:45

I can't see the neighbours granting legal access - why would they? They would basically be saying any neighbours they have (and the ones to come after you may not be so nice) can traipse through their garden. They don't have to give permission but if they are nice and you are reasonable they may well do... it would be crazy to expect them to legally bind themselves to this - would you? If you only need access for emergency purposes and the odd favour to bring garden things through I wouldn't worry too much.

EthelDorothySusan Thu 27-Mar-14 10:15:11

I would either accept you will have to go through the house always to access your rear garden, or find another property.

Minion Thu 27-Mar-14 10:20:22

I'm more than happy just to go through our house for access, hopefully they will see that and be ok then.
Thanks all

UriGeller Thu 27-Mar-14 10:20:54

I think that emergency services are allowed to go through whatever is the easiest route to get to you in an emergency. So rights of access don't really apply to them.

I'm pretty sure this is the case as few years ago I can home from a weekend away to find a fire engine and fire fighters in my back garden tending a fire at the rear of the house opposite!

Bragadocia Thu 27-Mar-14 10:21:59

Your future neighbours would be nuts to make anything formal about this; if they want to sell in the future, many buyers wouldn't want to buy a place that compelled them to provide access through their garden for their neighbours. Look at it from your new neighbours' perspective.

Im the event of emergency services needing to get through at some point, any decent person would allow access - the neighbours aren't going to have a stand off with a fire brigade while your garden shed burns!
I can't see why going through your own house is an issue for work being done; it wouldn't occur to me that it was. Surely vast amounts of us live in terraces.

Minion Thu 27-Mar-14 11:57:22

bragadocia as above, I really don't want to use the neighbours in that way, as I said im more than happy to just let labourers/contractors go through our house. I would never rely on access through neighbours houses as im sure they wouldn't want me there either.
its not my issue per se at the moment seeing as though im not the owner, however its something the vendors solicitors and ours have thrown up and we didn't know where we stood.
my question was is it a legal requirement and I believe that's been answered. However I agree about the neighbours perspective bit, in fact I agree more about not interfering with their lives etc more than the 'issue' itself.

Bithurt Thu 27-Mar-14 12:14:06

My mum lives in a mid terrace and it's written in that she can use an access path round her neighbours house. The neighbour was saying she wanted to put decking down which would cut off the path. What if any future neighbours wanted to do the same? It would mean you most likely wouldn't get round. We're end terraced and were told that we had to keep it clear.

Just mentioning it as if further down the line you did heavy work in the garden/back of the house that would be difficult to come through the house then it would be a pain.

Minion Thu 27-Mar-14 13:14:07

Thanks bithurt its good to know of others who have the sort of same scenario.
the houses are on an incline, sloping downwards and the neighbours already have extensive decking out that goes down to the garden level, so that should be something to look out for I guess.
we wouldn't do heavy work etc, a big reason we bought it (or trying to) is the garden is near on perfect as it is. Save for a few planting etc.

Rockdoctor Thu 27-Mar-14 15:52:11

I think if this is about emergency services then UriGeller is right - they really don't care whether or not there is a legal agreement and they're not going to waste time reading it if it's a real emergency.

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