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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    5

    Default How to Stop a Neighbor from Damaging a Dirt Road

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: South Carolina

    I live on a dirt road. There are 4 other homes on this road. The road is privately owned by the landowners which only includes one other family (my parents). The other 3 do not own the land they live on. Our neighbor whom we have to pass to get to our property is the only one on the road with a working tractor so he takes it upon himself to scrape the road whenever it gets bad. At one point he asked for people to chip in $ to help with maintaining his tractor. Myself & my parents agreed and we were paying him $50 per month each month. We did this for 3 months in a row. Then he decided he no longer wanted our money and wanted us to maintain the driveway. Unfortunately we do not have the money to buy a tractor so we have not been able to. He now takes his tractor and purposely messes up the road to make it unusable. My husband is not able to get his vehicle through it at all. And I only can bc I have 4WD. Again, this property is privately owned by the land owners which he is NOT. What rights do I have as far as destruction of private property? Or even harassment? We have ordered a camera and will be setting it up tomorrow to catch him in the act of messing up the road so that we have video proof. A big concern I have is that I have 4 young children. If there was any type of emergency, NO emergency vehicle would be able to get to us. This road is our only access point on/off our land.

    Any help would be much appreciated!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    5

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    There are 5 lots off of this road. The 5 land owners all own a portion of the road. Myself & my parents who live next door are the only two on this road that own our land/home. The other 3 people are basically renting. The tractorman does not own the land or mobile home he is in. He has no ownership to the road. Yes he is destroying the road on purpose. He has stated bc we don't have a tractor to maintain the road, that he will make it unusable for us. We have caught him in the act, but do not have video YET. Setting up a trail cam tomorrow so that we can have a recording of him purposely doing it. The road basically dead ends into my property. I am the last one on this road. There is no pass through so no one uses the road that doesn't live here. I have to pass his home to get to mine so he messes up the road just past his property so no one further can get down it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    Assuming the land owner of the property tractor man is renting actually has an easment such an easment would only extend to getting to the property he has a right to access. Once he passes the property he has rented he would be trespassing. So with the exception of if you want to sue for damages all your really need is proof that he is there not proof that he is damaging the road. Though it would help your case.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    5

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    He has made an access to his property further down the road to where it used to be simply so that he could ruin the road and still be able to drive to his home. So basically the area he is destroying is in front of his property but he's made an access before it. I'm telling y'all, its a mess. I don't know how to post of a photo or I would.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    7,056

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    Quote Quoting scmomma
    View Post
    There are 5 lots off of this road. The 5 land owners all own a portion of the road. Myself & my parents who live next door are the only two on this road that own our land/home. The other 3 people are basically renting.
    So the other 3 people are renters of the property but there is a landlord that is are the owners of the property. So that really doesn't mater that they are renters. They would have the same rights to use the road as the landlord.

    What you have to do is check the County recorded records to see what, if any, easements were granted for these 5 properties to use the road and what if anything the granting language says about the maintenance of the road is. If the language is silent on maintenance, then the common law is that the dominant estates are responsible for the maintenance. If a dominant estate (one of the renters) is destroying the road, you should at the least call the police and make a report. They may be guilty of vandalism or destruction of private property.

    So the question is what easements were granted and what is the granting language.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    5

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    I'm not denying that they have rights to use the road. I'm just saying that they don't OWN the road. Technically it is owned by the landowners. Not the renters. I don't care if he uses the road. I just want him to stop destroying it so that WE can use the road. This is the only road on and off our property. Emergency vehicles can't even get to our home.

    Each person has a driveway off of this main road. The homes are set back. There should be no easement issue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    7,056

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    Then if you or your family own the land and this neighbor causes damage to the road that is not normal wear and tare , file a police report.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    5

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    Quote Quoting Rock Knocker
    View Post
    We all get that. In fact, we all know that. Stating it multiple times only clouds this conversation
    Sorry. Super frustrated with the situation. Its been going on for months & months. He's a bully. And I've just finally had enough of it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    672

    Default Re: Neighbor is Deliberately Messing Up Dirt Road to Make It Undriveable. Rights

    The reason you were asked about the recorded easement is that that will set out rights and responsibilities involving the use of the road. Who can use it, for what purpose, and who is responsible for maintenance. If it turns out that there is designation of who "maintains" which designates the dominant or serviant tenants, you will need to deal with the property owner, so best to know where you stand. I would first do that, and then get your Emergency Services to confirm that they cannot access your property. They may be able to explain what needs to be done. Then you contact the landowner, and tell him his tenant has blocked your use of the easement, and s/he needs to repair the damage done to allow you use of the road. I don't know how it will play out, and you may need to get a lawyer involved. I have friends n a similar situation, and they're fighting an uphill battle.

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