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  1. #1

    Default Can You Expand the Historic Use of an Easement

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Washington

    Hello all. My property is burdened by a 5-foot wide "driveway" easement that was created in 1978 (the neighboring property gave a reciprocal 5 feet, to create a 10-foot wide shared driveway).

    The easement has been used to access a shared two-car garage since that time.

    The owner of the dominant estate now wants to develop her property to add a garage for an additional 4 cars (!). That would mean the easement would serve 6 cars coming and going.

    The original easement does not place any explicit limits on use (it just refers to ingress and egress).

    Do I have the right to prevent the neighbor from expanding her use of this easement, so far in excess of its historic use?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Default Re: Easements - Expanding Historic Use

    Easements are seldom limited to a set amount of traffic/day, rather by who has the right to use them. So unless they are conducting a business with the general public using the driveway, they are free to use as often as they want.
    6 garage stalls do not always mean that 6 cars will be in use.

    Be polite, discuss intended use and go from there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Easements - Expanding Historic Use

    Easements serve specific parcels.

    If the parcel served is subdivided, or an adjoining parcel not mentioned in the original grant is to be served, it might be seen as an overburdening and a trespass on the easement.

    A court will look to the granting language in order to attempt to determine the intent of the parties. If the result is a latent ambiguity, the court might look to extrinsic evidence for further guidance.

    Only a local attorney experienced in this type of work can advise you further.
    Resistance is not futile; it is voltage divided by current.

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