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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    3

    Default Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    My question involves an easement in the state of:Pennsylvania.

    There is a common driveway for the residents of one block of homes, with roads on both ends(13 homes). We have a elementary school one block from the properties.

    A resident outside of this block insists he has the 'permission' to use our common driveway as a walkway because he was given that permission from an owner (one of the 13) who lives at the end of the block-this non-resident walks through most all our properties to get to this resident's home, then cuts across her property to the street to get to his home. The fact that i, nor the other 12 property owners of the driveway have agreed to this daily use of the driveway has no effect on this person-I and the others are concerned about the liability we might incur based on the blanket 'permission' given this non-resident and their child (who has a tendency to wander off the driveway, ahead and behind the adult). In addition, there is the fact that the driveway has been posted for over 10 years, on both ends: Private property, No trespassing, no thru-traffic.

    The residents rarely use this for foot traffic-it is actually pretty busy with vehicular activity, hence our concern about liability. We often have high school students use this as a short-cut illegally (the high school is 1/4 of a mile away) and they can cut through pretty fast-so it is not necessarily a safe place for foot passage. Neighbors park out of the way of the actual driveway,, but can and do back out of parking spaces-potential for injuring someone who does not belong there by our way of thinking. We think this resident does not have the right to blanketly grant someone the use of all properties for this purpose. Please advise, and thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,804

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    Does the easement actually cross each lot? If so, who is listed as the dominant tenant(s) for any given property?


    what are the allowed uses and or restrictions on the easement?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    I have kind of a similar situation---our neighbor has to cross our prop via a road to get to his house. When we sold the property his house is on, we had an attorney draw up "covenants and restrictions". Since we pay the taxes on the property, we have the final say.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    3

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    Quote Quoting jk
    View Post
    Does the easement actually cross each lot? If so, who is listed as the dominant tenant(s) for any given property?


    what are the allowed uses and or restrictions on the easement?
    the easement does cross at least half the lots-the center of the driveway is the property boundry so the non-resident and their 5-6 year old are crossing property not owned by them or the person who granted 'permission'. The dominant tenant for any given property would be the deed holder I would think...for each individual property.

    I guess the point is, giving someone permission to come to the back of one's home, accessing someone else's property is one thing-but to just leave it open to any time, day, or method of access (on foot, by vehicle) with no regard to the rights of other property owners and consideration of their liability should not be allowed-that is our position. The general feeling is that this 'trespasser' is being obstinate. We are generally concerned that this will set a precedent-others will assume it is alright to use our property as a cut-through, and will will have risk and liability due to the actions of one resident.


    The allowed use has been, for as long as we have been here (12 years), residents, extended family and hired contractors (more liability?). Guests do sometimes park 'out back' but it is granted on a 'as needed' basis, not a blanket easement. Foot traffic is really minimal, it is almost exclusively vehicular.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    158

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    For definition's sake (from rcasenc.com, pdf)

    The "holder" of an easement right, or the party that is benefiting from the easement, is referred to as the "dominant tenant". Likewise, the property benefiting from an easement is referred to as the "dominant estate" or "dominant tenement".

    The party "burdened" by the easement is referred to as the "servient tenant". Likewise, the property burdened by the easement is the "servient estate" or "servient tenement".
    That is, the deed holder whose property has an easement for others to use, is the "servient tenant". The deed holder allows the "dominant tenant(s)" to use the easement crossing his property.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,804

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    Quote Quoting mikemark8
    View Post
    the easement does cross at least half the lots-the center of the driveway is the property boundry so the non-resident and their 5-6 year old are crossing property not owned by them or the person who granted 'permission'. The dominant tenant for any given property would be the deed holder I would think...for each individual property.

    I guess the point is, giving someone permission to come to the back of one's home, accessing someone else's property is one thing-but to just leave it open to any time, day, or method of access (on foot, by vehicle) with no regard to the rights of other property owners and consideration of their liability should not be allowed-that is our position. The general feeling is that this 'trespasser' is being obstinate. We are generally concerned that this will set a precedent-others will assume it is alright to use our property as a cut-through, and will will have risk and liability due to the actions of one resident.


    The allowed use has been, for as long as we have been here (12 years), residents, extended family and hired contractors (more liability?). Guests do sometimes park 'out back' but it is granted on a 'as needed' basis, not a blanket easement. Foot traffic is really minimal, it is almost exclusively vehicular.

    as justtoonice posted, a dominant tenant is the person(s) the easement is granted to. In other words, the people allowed to cross other peoples property. The servient tenant is the person who actually owns the dirt the easement is on.

    I wasn't asking what has been allowed or how anybody feels. I asked what the various property owners deeds, or whatever document was used to grant the easements, said as to what is allowed. That is the "in writing" basis as to who can use the easement for what purpose.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Easement Granted to Someone Who Does Not Own Property

    Turns out that a check of various deeds shows that you are permitted easement of your immediate neighbor's portion of the driveway-for example, my neighbors on both sides of MY property have the right to use my portion of the driveway to gain access to theirs. The house TWO or more down from mine are not mentioned in the deed. This was pointed out to authorities, who seem to now agree this individual, who is not a resident of any of these properties, cannot be granted easement to any property other than the grantor's and their immediate neighbors.

    He has since refrained from using the driveway.

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