My Neighbors are Constantly Blocking my Use of my Driveway, What can I do?

“I live in Queens, NY. In my neighbor-hood, the houses are in rectangular shape with a driveway on the right which leads to the backyard; the hiccup is all neighbors (on right) have their basement door opening to the driveway and a small access to their yard through the driveway. MY PROBLEM-For past few months, My neighbors (12 people) are now constantly using their basement door and my driveway as their main door, even their guest use it as a entrance door even though they have their front door and it is becoming extremely difficult to use my driveway where I park my cars(because of their constant presence, sitting in the driveway, children playing in the driveway etc), when I ask them to stop sitting or playing, they apologize, but keep repeating, them blocking my driveway with their cars is also becoming a problem. They started using the access to take out their garbage from their backyard (when they can take it through their driveway) they are also scratching my cars (when asked they say they didn’t do it and I don’t have proof), (it seems obvious that they don’t want me using my own driveway). How to solve this problem, Is their a legal way? Can I stop them from using my driveway?”

To answer this question, you’re going to have to look at the deed or other legal documents which created the neighbors’ rights with respect to each other. You may also need to know precisely where the property line is, and doing so with any authority will require you to hire a surveyor.

If there is no legal document giving your neighbors the right to cross your property (driveway), then the question becomes whether they have what is known as a prescriptive easement. This is a right to use the property of another which arises through use, not through a formal grant. Whether such a thing exists can be a tricky fact question, since it turns on what kind of use was made historically, whether or not the property owner granted permission, and how long the use went on. The effect of these factors also varies from state to state.

Ultimately, you may need to consult with an attorney to determine your relative rights and responsibilities. Even then, it’s a good idea to tread lightly; neighbor disputes can be nasty, and you’re still going to be next door to them when it’s over.

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