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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Neighbor's Driveway Runs Through My Property

    I'm looking at buying home in a rural residential area, on one acre in Michigan. This home is at the road; my prospective neighbor is behind me (comparable acreage), and is on the river. My home does not have direct access to the river. The dirt driveway to her home runs through my property, sort of cutting through one side of it (approx 30 ft x 130 ft strip).

    It's been there for many years and looks well established. It continues, of course, past my property line and into hers, up to her house. She feels that it can stay where it is, based on some sort of grandfather clause.

    That driveway used to serve my house, before the garage was converted to a bedroom. So you'd turn onto that driveway, then turn again into my (former) garage. Or continue straight on the driveway to her home.

    Is that grandfather clause true in terms of not being able to reroute that driveway off of my property? My purpose for change would be to unite my property and establish a driveway for her that is not on my property. Thanks ! /SP

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    27,847

    Default Re: Someone's Driveway Through My Property

    Quote Quoting SueP
    View Post
    Is that grandfather clause true in terms of not being able to reroute that driveway off of my property? My purpose for change would be to unite my property and establish a driveway for her that is not on my property. Thanks ! /SP
    depending on how long the drive to the home has been in existence, yes, there is a very good possibility she has what is called a prescriptive easement. If she has a valid claim to a PE, there is nothing you can really do without her agreeing to a change to change the situation.

    If this is a deal killer, I would suggest you might want to walk away now. If you are still interested, you should speak with an attorney that can review all of the facts and investigate the situation enough to be able to give you a reasonably dependable opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Someone's Driveway Through My Property

    From your description, it sounds like it's very possible that at one time both properties may have been owned by the same person, and in order to access the back property, a common drive was put in to avoid the back property becoming land locked. In the good old days, when property up here was fairly cheap, a buyer would purchase large land lots, hold them for a few years, then divide them up to resell them. In my little neck of the woods alone, I know of at least five pieces of property that have commons such as you describe. If you're still interested in the property, talk to the real estate agent and an atty, but chances are that your neighbor is correct and the drive will stay.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Someone's Driveway Through My Property

    I suspect you're both right. On the plat map it appears that this property was part of a larger parcel rectangular in shape extending from the road to the river. On a satellite view with the plat lines showing, the driveway is clearly inside the northern boundary of that "original" larger parcel (assuming the split occurred as I suspect). If this doesn't become a deal breaker for me, I suppose I could negotiate that a comparable strip of land from the southern back corner of my lot to the river be given to me, which would give my property direct access to the river. .. Clearly time for a survery and a real estate attorney... Thanks, your replies have been helpful.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Neighbor's Driveway Runs Through My Property

    Get the legal description of the land. In many cases, in exchange for the common drive, you may have been given common access to the river as part of the deed (ours has a common drive, in exchange, we have an access to the lake that is limited to property owners subject to the commons). Not a bad trade off for us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Neighbor's Driveway Runs Through My Property

    I agree -- and I'll investigate it. I've been trying to figure out if I can reroute the driveway to the edge of my property, then it can curve into hers. Also, if there's a similar sized strip through her property that would give me access to the river -- could be a pretty fair trade off, and would allow the bulk of my property to be unified.

    She has offered access to the river informally, but while she can withdraw that offer at any time, I doubt that I can withdraw use of the driveway.

    Also, I'd be paying taxes on a substantantive strip of property that I won't really be able to use. Which may be another nugget for negotiation...

    So I'm really feeling the need for competent legal representation -- even if I take no action, I need to know my rights. I have the legal description of the land, but still think I'll get a survey.

    Something possibly important I forgot to mention -- I'm buying this home from HUD. So until I close, it's government owned property. Thanks for your added comments.

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