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The Access to Neighbouring Land Act 2000 commenced on 1 January 2001. It regulates lawful access to private property for practical purposes, and allows for such access without the need for a temporary easement to be applied for. The Act provides an alternative to the often complicated or more expensive avenues available to parties seeking access to a neighbouring property under the Encroachment of Buildings Act 1922 and s88K of the Conveyancing Act 1919.
Under the Access Act, the Local Court may make either:
Section 12 of the Act contains a non-exhaustive list of works that may be permitted to be done on neighbouring property under an access order. These include:
An applicant will be required to show that they have attempted, unsuccessfully, to negotiate access to the neighbouring property with its owner before an access order will be made. The Court may order that certain conditions be fulfilled by the applicant if the order is granted, such as the minimisation of damage to the neighbour and their property, securing any building site or taking out insurance cover. The order itself may restrict the dates and times that access may be exercised.
If the applicant causes any loss or damage to the neighbour's property, beyond mere ‘inconvenience', the Court will order that the applicant compensate the neighbour. The costs of an application for an access order are generally payable by the applicant.