Rights to use adjoining property

A recent Supreme Court decision considered the costs of a dispute between adjoining owners as to the conditions under which the property A owner could enter into the property B owner’s land of the other to carry out work to property A.

The entitlement to do so is triggered by section 180 of the Queensland Property Law Act, and is called the “statutory right of user”. It might be for a permanent easement going through property B to benefit property A (say for access or services), or for a temporary right to enter property B, in this case to install scaffolding along the common boundary.

Requests of this nature are concerning for the owner of property B, there are liability issues to consider, and also any permanent impairment on the value of property B or the ability to use it. Section 180 has preconditions to the making of orders which are quite rigorous, and a wide discretion for the kinds of orders that can be made, including for compensation.

The decision can be found here and provides a good summary of the effect of the section and costs considerations https://www.sclqld.org.au/caselaw/QSC/2022/160

The section itself is here: http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/pla1974179/s180.html