We own the driveway, it’s part of our deed. Now the neighbor uses it like it’s theirs. We want them to get their own driveway. We just had it paved at $8,000. Can we stop them from using it?
Sorry to give the lawyer answer, but maybe. Even though you own the property, there’s a possibility that your neighbor has a legal right to use it, if they have what is known as a prescriptive easement (I assume they don’t have a written easement, since you didn’t mention one).
Prescriptive rights come about when someone uses someone else’s property, for a specified period of time, openly and without permission. The specified time varies greatly from one state to another.
If your neighbor has been using the driveway for less than the specified period (and use by or against previous owners does count), then you are in the clear. If not, then you potentially get into a pretty complicated argument over the nature of their use.
The safest way to proceed would be to consult with a local real estate attorney, who can tell you what the relevant period of time is in your state and can advise you regarding the way your neighbor is using the driveway and whether you can exclude them or not.