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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Marine on Saint Croix, MN
    Posts
    2

    Default Landlocked Driveway Easement and Use by Third Party

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Minnesota
    Been living on the landlocked property for a short time now. We have an easement with the adjacent owner who has access to the public gravel road. All is well there.

    The issue is that a third party, owning property connected to mine but not the easement holder thinks that the easement is on his behalf as well. He has constructed a fence to protect a vineyard on his property that inhibits him from being able to access the vineyard except by using my driveway and crossing my land. I should also mention that he has a driveway connected to the same public gravel road.

    I wish to understand the easement before I make any moves to state my position or intent.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Rick

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: Landlocked Driveway Easement and Use by Third Party

    I'm assuming this is a private easement we're talking about here. In other words, it is only for your use and your neighbor's use.

    Unless this third party has retained an easement from both you and your neighbor or from a previous owner(s) of the land, he has no right to use it. You should go on a fact finding mission next:

    1. Find out if your property is burdened by an easement for the third party to access his land across yours. This would involve research at the courthouse or whatever name the agency that records land transactions in Minnesota is named.

    2. Ask your neighbor if the third party has an easement over him.

    3. Ask the third party to produce his documented easement.

    4. You wrote you have not been living there for very long. Ask your neighbor and other "old timers" in the area how long (in years) that the third party has been using the drive for access. Even if he does not have a document of record, he may be able to prove a prescriptive right. The statutory period in your state is 15 years for this type of taking. (By the way this type of taking can only be proved by the granting of a judgment in the third party's favor by a court of law. Until a judgment is granted, there is no prescriptive right. It is an expensive and time consuming process, and the onus is on him to prove it.)

    If you determine that the third party has no rights to use your driveway, retain a lawyer for advice and to possibly have a certified letter mailed to the third party explaining your desire for him to stop trespassing on your land.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Marine on Saint Croix, MN
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Landlocked Driveway Easement and Use by Third Party

    First of all...thank you for all the good information!

    Yes...this is a private easement.

    Question: When I bought the home wouldn't the disclosure have to have represented a second easement with the third party? I was at the courthouse this afternoon and the only one that appeared on the Deed Warranty was the one I mentioned.

    I may just need to engage an attorney and let fill in the gaps for me.

    Thank you for your time.

    Regards,

    Rick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,585

    Default Re: Landlocked Driveway Easement and Use by Third Party

    Question: When I bought the home wouldn't the disclosure have to have represented a second easement with the third party? I was at the courthouse this afternoon and the only one that appeared on the Deed Warranty was the one I mentioned.
    People frequently are mistaken in believing that all easements must be on their "deed". I don't know where this misconception originates. Nothing could be more misleading. Of course all easements need to be in writing, but the writing may be somewhere else than the deed. "Disclosure" could mean a variety of things, but title insurance would be expected to reveal an easement to the third party. I would not trust a seller or realtor to provide a trustworthy disclosure in a real estate transaction. So I'm not sure what you mean by disclosure.

    As for the easement documentation, it could be somewhere else than the County Recorder's office. It could be in a plat with the County Surveyor, or it might be recorded in a court judgement entry. If you are not comfortable with doing this research, which might be somewhat involved, get professional help from an attorney, surveyor, or title abstractor.

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