How Do We Stop Our Neighbors From Using Our Private Driveway?

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“What steps do I have to take to stop my neighbor from using our private driveway?  My neighbors next to us pull into their driveway to enter their premises but use our driveway to enter the main road. They have at times even pulled into our driveway to be able to go to the back of their house. We have asked them many times to stop doing this because we are afraid one day that we might have an accident. When they use our driveway, they fly out their very fast so we don’t see them using it.  They almost hit me one day. I was pulling in our driveway and they we pulling out to enter the main street. How can we put an end to this?”

[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.]

Well, the first question is whose property is the driveway?  This question might have a complicated answer.  You start with whether the driveway is physically on your property or on your neighbor’s (or possibly both).

The next question is whether the neighboring owner has an easement over the driveway.  That is, if the driveway is on your property, does your neighbor have an easement allowing him to use it; or if the driveway is on his property, do you have an easement?

All this detective work is to answer the question: does your neighbor have a legal right to use the driveway?  Also, keep in mind that even if there is no recorded right, your neighbor could have what is known as a prescriptive easement, through use of the driveway for the requisite amount of time (the time varies from state to state).

If your neighbor has no legal right to use the driveway, then he is trespassing, and you have all the remedies that go along with that.  The police might enforce it, or more likely you would need to sue and get a court order that your neighbor cease and desist.

If your neighbor does have a legal right to use the driveway, that doesn’t mean that he can use it in a dangerous or unreasonable way, so you would still possibly have a legal cause of action for nuisance.

In either case, it’s always worth giving a lot of thought before you sue your neighbor–they’ll still be living next door after the lawsuit is over.  However, sometimes a firm letter from an attorney can get your neighbor’s attention where you talking to them won’t.

Your next step, then, is probably to consult with a local attorney.

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Author: House Attorney

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