Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
I purchased a piece of property from a tax auction. There is a right of way to the property on the deed that was recorded in the early 1970s. The owner of the property which the easement is on has a locked gate blocking access to the easement. My question is, can I legally cut the lock off the gate or perhaps just clear a path next to the gate and put my own gate in next to his? Thank you for taking the time to read my question.
If you have a legal easement, the owner of the other property is not allowed to “unreasonably” interfere with your use of it. Putting in a locking gate that you don’t have the key to would almost certainly be considered an unreasonable interference.
However, the gate and the lock are still your neighbor’s personal property, and you would be responsible for any losses from deliberately destroying them. The correct way to address this would be for either you or your attorney to discuss it with your neighbor, and either get the lock (or the gate) removed, or at a minimum get you a key.