Can My Neighbor Prevent Me From Using My Driveway?

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My neighbor has a driveway on my property for his lakefront house. I also have my own driveway on my property a few feet away from his. I plan to remodel my home and would like to use the same driveway as my neighbor. Can my neighbor prohibit me for doing so? His driveway is on my property and I don’t see why we need two separate driveways.

[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.]

I assume when you say that your neighbor’s driveway is on your property, that it’s only part of the driveway that we’re talking about, otherwise he’d be parking on your property, too. This is important, because the rules are very different for the part of the driveway that is on your property and the part that is on his.

If we’re talking solely about the part that’s on your property, the answer is probably yes. Typically, driveways that cross another person’s property are created by an easement, and in most cases that easement is “non-exclusive.” What that means is that the property owner (you) can continue to use the driveway area, so long as you don’t unreasonably interfere with the easement owner’s (your neighbor’s) use.

So assuming that you’re going to use the driveway in such a way that your neighbor can keep using it, too, you should probably be okay.

Of course, the first thing you should do is look at the document which created the easement to make sure it is non-exclusive. If it is an exclusive easement, then you have no right to use it whatsoever.

And finally, regardless of what your legal rights turn out to be, it’s always a good idea to be neighborly and discuss these plans with your neighbor before you start.



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Author: House Attorney