Access Licences and Surveying

Property development and maintenance can be a complex, multifaceted, and arduous journey, with numerous factors to consider and legal requirements to adhere to. One critical aspect that should not be overlooked in such undertakings—particularly when work involves neighbouring properties—is obtaining the appropriate access licences. Access licences safeguard the interests of all parties, ensuring that development projects do not infringe on others' rights and adhere to regulations outlined in England and Wales. As a residential and building surveying firm, we understand the importance of proper preparations before undertaking projects and the crucial role of access licences in ensuring successful outcomes.

In this informative guide, we will delve into the essential aspects of access licences, shedding light on their purpose, practical implications, and the role of surveying in obtaining consent when undertaking property work on or near neighbouring lands. Additionally, we will provide valuable insights, expert guidance, and practical tips to help property owners navigate the complex world of access agreements and comprehend the importance of surveying in ensuring seamless property development and maintenance processes.

As experienced practitioners, our team is well-versed in the legal intricacies, processes, and best practices involved in obtaining access licences. We recognise the significance of understanding and complying with the relevant legislation when carrying out property work in close proximity to neighbouring lands. To that end, our goal in providing this guide is to present key information and practical guidance to help property owners smoothly navigate the process of securing consent to benefit all parties involved.

What is an Access Licence?

An access licence, also referred to as a licence for access or a right of access, is a legally binding agreement between two or more property owners. It grants permission for one property owner to access or carry out work on or near a neighbouring property, subject to specific terms and conditions. Securing an access licence is crucial when undertaking various property projects, including:

  • Extension or renovation work encroaching on a neighbour's property or boundary
  • Maintenance or repairs requiring access to a neighbour's land
  • Erecting or modifying shared or neighbouring fences and walls
  • Undertaking work that may affect party walls or structures shared with adjoining properties

The Importance of Obtaining an Access Licence

There are several compelling reasons why property owners should secure an access licence before carrying out work on or near neighbouring lands:

  • Legal compliance: Access licences ensure adherence to legal requirements and prevent potential litigation, disputes, or costly project delays.
  • Clear communication: Obtaining an access licence fosters transparency and open communication between property owners, establishing amicable relationships and clarifying expectations.
  • Protection of property rights: Access licences safeguard the rights and interests of all parties, ensuring respect for boundaries and minimising the risk of damage or intrusion.
  • Efficient project management: Access agreements facilitate smooth project execution by setting clear terms and conditions for all parties involved, ultimately saving time and resources.

The Role of Surveying in Access Licence Acquisition

Engaging the services of experienced surveyors can be instrumental in securing access licences and ensuring successful property development projects. Surveyors contribute with their expertise in the following ways:

  • Assessing required access: Surveyors can help determine the extent of access needed to carry out the proposed works and the potential impact on neighbouring properties.
  • Identifying legal requirements: Surveyors have a thorough understanding of legislation governing property access and can guide property owners through the complex legal landscape.
  • Preparing access licence agreements: Surveyors can draft thorough access licences or review proposed agreements, ensuring that terms and conditions adhere to legislation and protect property owners' interests.
  • Facilitating negotiations and dispute resolution: In addition to providing technical and legal advice, surveyors can act as neutral third parties in negotiating and mediating disputes between property owners, facilitating mutually acceptable agreements.

Tips for Successfully Obtaining an Access Licence

To support a smooth access licence acquisition process, consider the following tips:

  • Start early: Engage with your neighbour and initiate discussions about the proposed works as soon as possible, allowing plenty of time to arrange access licences and prevent project delays.
  • Be transparent and concise: Clearly outline the scope, purpose, duration and terms of the proposed access, as well as any potential disruptions or inconveniences your neighbour may experience.
  • Offer assurances and compensation: Where necessary, provide guarantees that any damage to your neighbour's property will be rectified, and consider offering compensation for any inconvenience or loss of enjoyment caused by the works.
  • Be open to feedback and negotiation: Be prepared to engage in constructive conversations, address concerns, and adjust your proposal to accommodate your neighbour's needs or preferences.


Securing an access licence is a crucial step when undertaking property development or maintenance work on or near neighbouring properties. Access licences ensure compliance with legal requirements, protect property interests, and promote amicable relationships between property owners. By understanding the importance of access licences, obtaining expert assistance, and following best practices, property owners can successfully secure consent for necessary work, safeguard their projects, and promote a harmonious neighbourhood environment.

As experienced professionals in residential and building surveying, the Icon Surveyors team provides top-quality surveying services and expert advice on access licences and other property-related matters throughout England & Wales. If you're seeking a trusted partner to guide you through the complexities of access licences and the surveying process, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for support and peace of mind.

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We are a team of party wall surveying experts based throughout London and the surrounding areas. Here, we share informative property survey blogs created by industry experts.



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