Can I Use The Easement Located On My Property?

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We are doing major landscaping on our property. There is a dirt/gravel road in the back of our house of which the property line goes down the middle. Half of the road is on our property and half on the neighbor’s property. This road is also the only way to access another neighbor’s property to the west of us. Our neighbor recently sent us an email telling us we cannot use the road to access that area of our property without his permission. Since we own half of the road, and the road has been used for over 25 years as access to another property, does our neighbor have the right to tell us we can’t use the road?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Maybe.

Just because a road is on your land doesn’t necessarily mean you have the right to use it. Your neighbors’ ability to use the road probably came about because of an easement, and you should look to the document that created that easement first, to see what your relative rights are.

Easements can either be exclusive or non-exclusive. Like it sounds, an exclusive easement excludes the owner of the land, while a non-exclusive easement doesn’t. So, if your neighbor has an exclusive easement to the road across your property, what that means is that you don’t get to use it, too.

Most roadway easements are non-exclusive, meaning that the owner of the land gets to use the road, too–so long as it doesn’t unreasonably interfere with the easement owner. But before you start arguing with your neighbors, see what the document says.



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Author: House Attorney