Unfortunately, this is a matter for local law and local lawyers, so I’m of little use. Odds are, you have a case for access - but will have to pay to prove it. Did the survey not demonstrate this as an issue?
Posted by p hunter on September 08, 2002 at 10:09:57:
Dear Mr. Hyre:
Thank you for hosting this site.
I purchased acreage 1 week ago. A neighbor has taken over a gate and locked me out of what I thought was my driveway. He states the gate is on his property and that the road is not a common road at all. He states I must cut a new road using another right of way to my property. This gate was previously used by the person I bought the property from. The previous owner informed me that the road in question was on the neighbor’s property but that the road was an established right of way that had been in place for 80 years. My deed does not mention right of ways in great detail. It has a phrase regarding protection of previously established right of ways. I have a survey map that is 32 years old that shows the road coming from my property to his property and then back to my property. Incidentally, the road was once traveled by the gas company as well.
Hopefully, I have provided you with some useful information. Can this fellow lock me out of this access to my property? Thanks for your free advice.
Posted by Sandy (NY) on September 19, 2002 at 01:13:55:
What you need to prove is “open and notorious” use of the space in question. Basically, this means if your neighbor has an access road on his property that was being used everyday by his old neighbors and they weren’t sneaking, he cannot enforce the road solely being his now. I think he “took away” your access because you are a new owner, but the clock for the “open and notorious” use of adjoining spaces doesn’t start reticking because the house was sold. Try to ask the old owner how long they used the access road and maybe the owner before that. Between your survey which accounts for 32 years and the 80 years accounted for by the old homeowner, you might be able to prove your case quite easily. Be sure to check because for some states you need to prove “open and notorious” use for more than 10 years and for other states it is longer.