My Neighbor Claims We Can’t Use our Easement for Business Because it’s Only for Residential Use, Can he Stop us from having Access?

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“My husband and I purchased a piece of land 17 years ago which consisted of a working commercial fish hatchery, buildings and 3 homes. There is a piece of property between us and the county road on which we have “a non-exclusive easement for ingress and egress over and under a piece of land 20 feet in width”. This road has always had a lot of traffic, the fish hatchery is now owned by the local Utility Company (we share the same easement) and we kept the homes and are renting our place out for outdoor events such as weddings and receptions and such. We now have a new owner of the property on which we have the easement who is claiming that we don’t have the right to have this business as the easement is for a single family residence access only. Can he stop us from having this business which has been in existence since 2004?”

[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.]

Access for a business is different from access for a residence, so there is certainly an argument that your easement isn’t that extensive. Similarly, in most states, three years of use is not long enough to give you prescriptive rights to expand the easement.

So your neighbor may have a decent argument on this point. Depending on the facts, you may have a counter-argument, but I would suggest trying to work out a deal rather than getting into a big argument.



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Author: House Attorney

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