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Dealing With Neighbor's Refusal to Allow Access

When neighbors refuse to allow pool installation equipment through their backyard, how should you handle it? To start, speak to the neighbors.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Question: I want to install a pool in my backyard, but my neighbor won’t agree to let the contractor use any portion of her side yard to get equipment in and out even though I agreed to pay for all repairs and landscaping to put things back to how they were. What do I do? —Jennifer

Answer: You are in a difficult situation. You want to use your property the way you want to, but to do so, you want to use your neighbor’s property in a way the neighbor disagrees with.

The law prefers allowing people control over their property except in rare circumstances. For example, the owner of a property that does not have direct access to a right of way, known as “landlocked,” will be able to cross another property to get to theirs.

Speaking with your neighbor about it is a good idea, but ultimately, it will be up to your neighbor, and if they disagree, you will need to find another way.

If you live in a planned community, such as a homeowners’ association, check your formative documents, such as your plat, for an easement to use a neighbor’s property. For example, I have seen communities with small lots that allowed access over a neighboring property for maintenance or repairs.

You should also check your municipality’s ordinances for a possible solution. Cities with “zero-lot-line” communities often have rules addressing this situation.

If none of this helps, you may need to find other solutions, which will likely be more expensive.

While delivering equipment over this neighbor’s property might be the easiest way, getting permission from a different neighbor will also get the job done.

If none of these options pan out, you will need to get creative. I have seen situations where a crane delivered equipment and materials when easier access was unavailable.

Speak with your contractor to see what other options are available to get the job done.

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