Our Neighbor Built a Dock and is Using Our Dock Access Without Our Permission

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“The question we have for you is that my husband and I rent a house on upper greenwood lake and the dock on our lake has been well maintained and grandfathered and used since 1957. Dues are always paid on time. Someone has built a house down the block from us and has decided to put a dock 20 feet from us which is connected to a wooded access but instead of making his own access to his dock he has decided to use ours (which is directly accross from our house and stairs were built on our time and effort). He feels he has the right to come onto our well-maintained entrance to get to his dock is right. He can also make his own access to his dock. We were wondering what rights we have against him to come on to our access to get to his dock? We would greatly appreciate your answer, Thank you so much for your time.”

[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 can’t give you a concrete answer, because coastal rights are very local and variable. In addition, you make reference to “dues,” so I assume that there’s a homeowners’ association or other local group that may have some say in the matter.

However, you say that your new neighbor “feels” he has the right to use your access. Unless he is a judge (and, in theory, not even then), his feelings are beside the point. He either has a legal right or he doesn’t. Ask him to explain what law/rule/ordinance/whatever gives him the right to use your access. Then look it up (don’t take his word for it).

Even if you discover that he does have the right to use your access, you may at least find out that he needs to contribute to its upkeep. When he gets a bill, using your access may not seem so attractive, anymore.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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