"Right-of-way" driveway question - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on March 12, 2002 at 13:51:01:

Thanks for the reply. What if the survey comes back and it says the driveway is actually part of the property of the lot in between us, which she owns. Am I grandfathered in for ‘right of use’ or do you think I have a legal issue?

Thanks again.

“Right-of-way” driveway question - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on March 12, 2002 at 12:45:12:

Recently, I was speaking to a neighbor of my multi-unit. They informed me that the lot they own (between the two of us) goes all the way through the driveway on my multi. Therefore, they own my driveway. I’m not sure how long it’s been like this (house was build in 1920 and others around it, not very far after that).

Question: Do I have to worry about any issues with them trying to charge me for the use of the driveway? I wouldn’t even be able to change the driveway because the lot is so small that there’s no where else to put it. When I closed on the property, my attorney asked me if I had a shared driveway. I said probably not because there’s about 30 to 40 feet between my driveway and this neighbor. Well, come to find out, this is actually a building lot (according to the neighbor, which I will confirm). I’m concerned that she’ll try and charge me for the use or when/if she sells this lot between us, that the new owner will have a legal right to withdraw the use or charge for the use. I’ve actually offered to buy the lot and she said she’d think about it.

Any thoughts is greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

Btw, I can’t wait for the convention. I’d like to thank everyone that’s helped me through the year with my questions in person (maybe even with a beer. Although, I may have to take out a personal loan to do that. Or, maybe I can close on a house and get cash back at the closing for the drinking funds needed???!!!).

Re: “Right-of-way” driveway question - Posted by Brent_IL

Posted by Brent_IL on March 12, 2002 at 17:27:13:

Regardless of who-owns-what, if it’s been in continuous use for 80 years you probably have a constuctive easement. I wouldn’t lose any sleep.

Re: “Right-of-way” driveway question - Posted by Colleen-WA

Posted by Colleen-WA on March 12, 2002 at 16:48:41:

If this driveway has been in use for a statutory period of time (varies depending on the jursidiciton) it becomes the property of the user even though, originally, the land belonged to the neighbor. Unless the neighbor has spoken up in objection prior to that period of time. There is a legal term for that which is “adverse posession” I think.
Your atty. could confirm the period of time required and how to document your current ownership if this is the case.

Re: “Right-of-way” driveway question - Posted by GL(ON)

Posted by GL(ON) on March 12, 2002 at 14:41:14:

Go down to the registry office (court house) and look up the papers on your property. Check the survey and legal description. Look up all the deeds all the way back if necessary. As soon as you find a survey or legal description showing you own the land, you are in the clear. If your driveway is on her land, there should be a right of way or easement on record. If there is none, and you are on her land, you have a right to continue using it but you may need a lawyer to enforce it.

Re: ROW issue - Posted by chris

Posted by chris on March 12, 2002 at 13:47:19:

Check your survey, which should have been new…when you bought the house. Banks wont finance unless they have updated survey. See what the boundaries include. Also, check with your attorney…have him check deed to see what agreement is written into it…such as an easement or right of access.

Then, if worst comes to worst, have a Licensed Surveyor come out and stake the property boundaries. Then, if all is good, sit back in a lounge chair in you driveway, and tell the neighbor to go and pound SALT!!!