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  1. #1

    Default Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    My question involves an easement in the state of: CA

    Hi,

    In a situation where the relations have deteriorated to the point that the owner of the ROW is parking on the ROW to intentionally make it difficult for the dominant to get in and out of their driveway, can a car be towed? What if they are fully blocking access to part of a driveway.

    Conversely, can the owner of the ROW have a car towed from the ROW if it is owned by the dominant tenant and not blocking the owner's access to their driveway?

    I know a follow up question will be have you done a survey and do you know for sure where the ROW is, and the answer is yes, the parking locations are indeed in the ROW.



    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Consult the terms of the ROW. One thing to look for aside from usage for parking is the documented width of the ROW compared to its current state.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    627

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    I can't answer to the towing question, but if they are blocking access to the property you could try the town building dept. or fire marshal. If they are blocking your passage then they are also blocking access of emergency vehicles, which could be a source of getting assistance in this matter. Most likely the police won't help you so if the above suggestion doesn't work then you will have to start spending money on lawyers and legal fees to get this settled. It could be as little as meeting with a lawyer and paying them to send a letter to the neighbor explaining your rights and the possible penalties if they continue.

    I had a similar problem with my neighbor and the fire marshal sent them a letter threatening a fire code violation if they were blocking emergency vehicle access. The one advantage of this route is it's free.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2013
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    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Quote Quoting george curious
    View Post
    My question involves an easement in the state of: CA

    Hi,

    In a situation where the relations have deteriorated to the point that the owner of the ROW is parking on the ROW to intentionally make it difficult for the dominant to get in and out of their driveway, can a car be towed? What if they are fully blocking access to part of a driveway.

    Conversely, can the owner of the ROW have a car towed from the ROW if it is owned by the dominant tenant and not blocking the owner's access to their driveway?

    I know a follow up question will be have you done a survey and do you know for sure where the ROW is, and the answer is yes, the parking locations are indeed in the ROW.



    Thank you.
    I might assume that you are the dominant tenement but you don't actually say so.

    The case law in California is replete with cases about the interference with the granted rights of the dominant tenement. Interference with those rights is a cause of action in tort law called "private nuisance" and the dominant tenement can recover substantial damages.

    When a person interferes with the use of an easement he deprives the easement's owner of a valuable property right and the owner is entitled to compensatory damages. The interference is a private nuisance and the party whose rights have been impeded can recover damages as measured in the case of a private nuisance. (3 Miller & Starr, op. cit. supra, 18:58, p. 370; see Zimmer v. Dykstra (1974) 39 Cal. App.3d 422, 437-438 [114 Cal. Rptr. 380].) Damages may be recovered for diminution of the property's value and for annoyance and discomfort flowing from loss of use. (Spaulding v. Cameron (1954) 127 Cal. App.2d 698, 706 [274 P.2d 177]; 3 Miller & Starr, op. cit. supra, 21:14, p. 536.)
    So if you are the dominant tenement, I would go see a lawyer and if you are the servient tenement I would give serious thought about continued impediment of the easements rights.

    I would not have the car towed in any event. It might lead to counterclaims. But I would be keeping a journal, taking pictures, and documenting each occasion where your use of the ROW was impeded (if of course, you are the dominant).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Thank you everybody. I appreciate it.

    I intentionally did not say I was the dominant tenant as to try to keep it as objective as possible.

    As for disagreeable's question about the width, it is supposed to be 25 feet and it is already less than that. When they park where they have been parking the ROW turns into about 3 feet.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2008
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    627

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Quote Quoting george curious
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    As for disagreeable's question about the width, it is supposed to be 25 feet and it is already less than that. When they park where they have been parking the ROW turns into about 3 feet.
    No, if it was created as 25ft then that is what the ROW is. Now the driveway can be less than 25ft but there is still the right to use all of the 25ft if needed. So are they parking a 22ft vehicle in the row or are they just blocking the driveway portion itself? Is there anything stopping from just driving around the parked vehicle?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Quote Quoting yyz0
    View Post
    No, if it was created as 25ft then that is what the ROW is. Now the driveway can be less than 25ft but there is still the right to use all of the 25ft if needed. So are they parking a 22ft vehicle in the row or are they just blocking the driveway portion itself? Is there anything stopping from just driving around the parked vehicle?
    The ROW is supposed to be 25 feet but the owner has put rocks and plants into the ROW part way so that it is only 10-15 feet wide in parts. When they park there it then becomes about 3 feet wide. The driveway starts right next to the ROW so at times a car be driven around the parked car, but if multiple cars are in the driveway then it makes it hard or impossible. Even if there is only one or two cars in the driveway, it makes it very hard to use the ROW for turning around, and forces a 6 point turn utilizing just the driveway instead of the ROW area to get out or forces a car to reverse a long a distance up hill which can be a little dangerous.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    OH10
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    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    The entire row should be clearly marked. Any man made obstructions, should be pointed out to the other user for removal. If they fail to remove them, a 4 wheel drive should be able clear a path easily.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    627

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    If you get no help with emergency vehicle blockage then I think it's time to start spending money on a lawyer. It could be as simple as the lawyer drafting a letter to the neighbor stating your rights and threatening legal action if your rights are not respected.
    That may be enough or you may have to start legal proceedings and sue the neighbor in court.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Parking on a Right of Way That Obstructs its Use

    Thanks again everybody. Trying to avoid legal fees, but I may need to go down that route. The neighbors just don't understand and they won't listen to us.

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