News and Insights
29 June 2022
Can I go onto my Neighbour’s Land to Maintain my Wall?
It is only in limited circumstances that a house owner who wishes to paint, repair or otherwise maintain their boundary wall, has an automatic right to go onto the land of a neighbour to do so.
For example, where a house owner has a contractual right to maintain a wall (documented in their conveyance sworn before the Royal Court when they purchased the house), there may be an ancillary right to go onto the bordering land to carry out that maintenance. Of course, the house owner must act in a reasonable way when carrying out such works making sure that they do not unduly inconvenience their neighbour.
Advocate Giles Emmanuel of Viberts’ Dispute Resolution Team successfully appeared in the Royal Court case of In the Matter of the Representation of Jean Pierre Falle and in the Matter of La Côte  JRC077, a dispute concerning the interpretation of servitudes (rights over another’s land for a specific purpose) and implied rights.
Mr Falle and Mr & Mrs Russell own properties next to each other which overlook Grouville Bay. La Côte is owned by Mr Falle, and the Beach House is owned by Mr & Mrs. Russell. The two properties are separated by walls including the gable wall of La Côte. Mr Falle has a contractual right to maintain, upkeep, repair or replace the gable wall. This right was established before the properties were built in 1986.
There is also a contractual right that allows Mr Falle to access a small part of the Beach House in front of the gable wall to carry out any maintenance of the wall. However, the small access area is not safely accessible from La Côte and the only way to reach it is to walk across the Beach House grounds.
The questions that arose before the Court included:
- whether there was an ancillary right for Mr Falle to go onto the Beach House to carry out works to the gable wall; and
- whether Mr Falle’s workmen can erect scaffolding to carry out the works.
In the absence of modern legislature dealing with these particular points, the Court was referred to historic property law from neighbouring jurisdictions that share a similar origin to Jersey property law, including 18th century Orleans and 19th century French law. Those laws provided that if one has the right to draw water from a well on a neighbour’s property, then one also has an ancillary right to pass across the neighbour’s land to get to the well. Accordingly, the Court held that Mr Falle has an implied right to walk across the Beach House to carry out the works. The court also decided that Mr Falle could use scaffolding for that purpose.
Mr and Mrs Russell have sought to appeal the Royal Court’s judgment and the date for such hearing is set for July 2022.
The Viberts Dispute Resolution and Property Teams can advise clients who might find themselves in a situation similar to this, or any dispute regarding property. Please call 01534 888 666 for any and all inquiries.
Click here for the full judgment.