Terraced House Shared Access Rules

Home Terraced House Shared Access Rules
Sunny Avenue
Mortgages Sunny Avenue
29 Feb 2024

Terraced houses, also known as row houses, are a staple of British housing. A common feature of these properties is the shared access through gardens or backyards, also referred to as the "right of way".

Understanding the terraced house shared access rules is crucial for potential homeowners and tenants, as it significantly impacts the living experience.

This insight will delve into the intricacies of these rules, offering invaluable insight for those considering a terraced house as their next home.

Key Takeaways

  • Terraced houses commonly have shared access arrangements, allowing passage through neighbors' gardens to reach roads or alleys. This is prominent in older, Victorian-style terraces.
  • "Right of way" grants passage through another's property. In terraced houses, this implies moving through a neighbour's garden to access the street or alley.
  • Shared access can reduce privacy, as neighbours may pass by windows or gardens. This might feel intrusive if not handled carefully.
  • You can find your terraced house shared access rules in your deeds and agreements. These documents specify the property rights and conditions.

What Are Terraced House Shared Access Rules?

Terraced houses often come with shared access arrangements, regardless of whether you are in an end of terrace property, or mid terrace house. This typically involves the right to pass through neighbours' gardens or yards to reach the public road or a shared alleyway.

It's a common feature in terraced properties, particularly in older, Victorian-style terraces.

The Concept of Right of Way

The "right of way" is a legal term denoting the right granted to a person (or the public) to pass through a property owned by another person.

In the context of terraced houses, this usually implies the right to move through a neighbour's garden to access the street or a common alleyway.

Shared Access Arrangements

Shared access in terraced houses can be diverse. For instance, in a row of terraced houses labelled as A, B, C, and D, it might be that house A has access through B's garden, and C has access through D's garden.

This pattern ensures that each house has a route to the public road or a shared alleyway.

What To Be Aware Of With Shared Access Terraced Houses

The shared access arrangements in terraced houses can be quite complex and can vary significantly based on the layout of the properties and the specific legal agreements in place.

Privacy Concerns

One of the most significant issues with shared access is the potential for reduced privacy. For instance, neighbours might need to pass by your kitchen window or even through your garden to access the shared alleyway.

This proximity can lead to a feeling of intrusion, particularly if the neighbours are not considerate about maintaining privacy.

Security Risks

Shared access can also present certain security risks. If your garden or yard provides access to multiple neighbours, the risk of the gate being left open or unsecured can be a concern.

This situation can potentially provide an easy access point for burglars.

Relationships with Neighbours

The quality of your relationship with your neighbours can significantly impact your experience of shared access. If your relationships are positive, shared access might be a minor inconvenience.

However, if relationships are strained, shared access can become a significant issue, leading to disputes and tension.

Where Can I Find The Terraced House Shared Access Rules?

Understanding the rules around shared access is key to navigating these potential issues. These rules can be outlined in the deeds of the property, or in separate legal agreements.

Deeds and Legal Agreements

The deeds of a terraced house often include information about shared access arrangements.

The deeds might specify who has the right of way through your property, and under what conditions this right can be exercised.

The Impact of Shared Access on Everyday Life

Living in a terraced house with shared access can have a significant impact on everyday life. Here are some scenarios to consider.

Access for Children

If children are playing together in the gardens of neighbouring houses, shared access can be a blessing.

It allows for a safe route for children to move between houses without needing to venture out onto potentially busy streets.

Issues for Service Providers

Shared access can present challenges for service providers such as window cleaners.

If gates are locked and keys are not available, service providers may not be able to access all parts of your property.

Inconvenience for Residents

Residents may find shared access inconvenient at times. For example, taking the bins out or moving bicycles in and out of the garden can become a more complex task if gates need to be unlocked and locked again each time.

What Can You Do If You Have a Dispute Over Terraced House Shared Access Rules?

If you're having a problem with your neighbours about shared paths in terraced houses, here's what you can do:


First, have a friendly chat with your neighbours. Share your concerns and listen to theirs. Often, talking can sort things out.

Check Your Property Documents

Look at your property documents. They will have rules about shared paths. This can clear up who can do what.

Get Legal Help

If talking doesn't work, think about getting advice from a lawyer who knows about houses. They can tell you what's fair and what you can do.

Get Help to Talk

You could get a neutral person to help you and your neighbours talk. They're not on anyone's side and can help find a way out.

Ask the Council

Sometimes, local people who handle rules can help. If someone is breaking the rules, they might step in.

Go to Court

If everything else fails, you could go to court. But remember, this takes time and money, so try other ways first.

Remember, every situation is different. It's good to get advice if things aren't working out.

Tips for Managing Shared Access

Living with shared access arrangements can be a learning curve. Here are some tips to help manage the situation effectively.

Clear Communication

Maintaining clear and open communication with your neighbours is key. Discuss shared access arrangements openly and honestly, and try to reach agreements that work for everybody.

Respect for Privacy

Respect your neighbours' privacy, and expect the same in return. Try to minimise the amount of time you spend passing through their property, and avoid looking into windows or other private spaces.

Secure Gates

Make sure any gates used for shared access are secure, but easy to open and close. This can help to minimise security risks without causing too much inconvenience.

Can Shared Access Terrace Houses Affect The Value?

Shared access arrangements can also have an impact on the value of a property. While they can be a potential downside for some buyers, others may see them as a positive feature, particularly if they facilitate a strong sense of community.

Who Owns The Alleyways On Terraced Houses?

Ownership of alleyways between terraced houses varies. They can be collectively owned by adjoining homeowners, local authorities, or private entities. Check property deeds and local regulations for clarity. Legal advice is recommended for any alterations or changes.

What is the Right of Access to The Back Garden?


The right of access to the back garden might exist in situations where multiple properties share a common pathway or alleyway leading to their respective gardens. In such cases, each homeowner could have a legal right to use this shared access route to reach and maintain their individual back gardens.

This ensures that everyone can reach their property without obstruction.

Can I Put a Gate Across Shared Access?

Installing a gate across shared access might be desirable for increased privacy, security, or control over the use of your property. However, doing so could affect neighbours' rights and access. Prior to installation, consult legal experts to ensure you're in compliance with local regulations and any agreements governing shared access.


Understanding terraced house shared access rules is crucial when considering a terraced property. With clear communication, respect for privacy, and secure access points, shared access can be managed effectively, contributing to a harmonious living environment.


Can you block a shared access?

Yes, in some cases, it may be possible to block shared access, such as by installing a gate or barrier. However, this action could have legal implications and may require permission from relevant authorities or agreement from all parties involved.

It's essential to consult legal experts and review any deeds or agreements governing shared access before taking such steps to avoid potential disputes or legal consequences.

What is the 20 year rule for right of access?

The "20-year rule" means that if someone has been using a pathway or access route across another person's property openly and continuously for at least 20 years, they might gain a legal right to keep using it, even if there's no formal agreement. This is called a "prescriptive easement." However, laws about this can vary, so it's best to get legal advice for your situation.

Are rights of way shown on title deeds?

Yes, rights of way are often shown on title deeds. These documents outline property boundaries and any rights or restrictions associated with the land, including the right of way. However, it's essential to carefully review the title deeds and consult legal experts to fully understand any rights of way mentioned.


Stuart is an expert in Property, Money, Banking & Finance, having worked in retail and investment banking for 10+ years before founding Sunny Avenue. Stuart has spent his career studying finance. He holds qualifications in financial studies, mortgage advice & practice, banking operations, dealing & financial markets, derivatives, securities & investments.

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