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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Property Encroachment and Blocking Private Driveway

    I want to build a fence!
    What are the steps I need to take so he doesn’t take me to court and what are my rights?

    Explanation of Property Issue:
    I recently started a lease to own of my parents property and I am having major issues with the neighbors up front who have converted there rural home into a very busy business. About 12 years ago the neighbor up front approached my parents and said he was thinking about building a shop and was wondering if he could use our driveway to access it on occasion and in return he would help maintain the road. At the time my parents thought that was a great deal because the driveway is about the length of a football field and requires a lot of gravel annually so it would be nice to share the cost as long as it’s 50/50 use.

    A few years go by without any problem until 2002 when his small home business turned into strictly a business running 5+ trucks and having approximately 15-20 employees. At this point the property is strictly being used as a business not a residence. Once this transition occurred he should have obtained some types of commercial permits for the land which is listed as rural property by the county. According to the county he has made no such attempted to obtain these permits and was told they typically don’t enforce it in our area. In other words he has not been paying commercial taxes on the property, which is ridicules in my eyes.

    In 2004 my parents moved to another property and this one was used only on occasion up until October of this year when they asked if I would like to take over the property. The problem is during the last few years the neighbors have completely taken over the driveway and the area around the driveway which is approximately 30’. The neighbor owns a Damage Restoration Company so they have a 36yd dumpster right on the property line with crap everywhere on and along my property. (Examples: washers, dryers, hot water tanks, refrigerators, old paint cans, and sometimes the garbage piles up higher than a large truck)

    Now I am having major issues because most times I can’t even get in or out of the driveway. They leave vehicles parked unattended which concerns me greatly if some type of emergency happened at my house and the police or fire trucks couldn’t gain access. Then last week they had a moving POD dropped off completely on my property blocking my driveway & at this point I have had it. So I decided to complain yet again and stopped to tell them they needed the POD moved off my property with in 24 hours. Four days later they complied after numerous inquires. This is not the first time I have complained to the owner regarding blocking my driveway either. But at least I have gotten some kind of action rather than his usual dismissal of my complaint. “Meaning, his “I’m so sorry”, or “we only block it maybe once a month to have the dumpster taken”, or some excuse he makes up on the spot. I have over 50 digitally dated pictures during the last month that say other wise, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”

    I know where the property lines are and I don’t want to spend the money for a surveyor if I don’t need to. I have received a few quotes and they want to charge between two and three thousand dollars to just shoot that line of the drive way & the 6ft chain link fence is going to cost around seven thousand, so obliviously I would like to minimize costs as much as possible. At any rate, I am at a total loss and have no idea where to go from here and could really use some advice on how to get my driveway back without some huge battle with the neighbor. If anyone could help I would be so grateful… Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: Property Encroachment & Blocking Private Driveway

    unless your parents granted an actual easement, all use by the neighbor up to this time has been permissive so; rescind permission to use the drive.

    If he doesn't stop using the drive, call the police and report a trespass. If he blocks the drive or sets things on your property, demand he remove them or (and this may cost you something) have them removed and sue the neighbor for the costs of removing the stuff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Property Encroachment & Blocking Private Driveway

    jk is of course correct.

    As you are now dealing with a "business" which is not respecting your rights, you need an attorney at this point. The "business" probably has an attorney already so you should be prepared. As jk said, permissive use can be revoked, but Texas has the most unusual laws regarding adverse possession of property and it can operate very quickly.

    If you revoke permission, and nothing changes, the statutory time period will begin if you do nothing further. Be aware of that and make sure that you have a local attorney to be on top of this for you. If you end up in court, you still may need a surveyor whether you want one or not so find one you and your attorney are comfortable with beforehand.

    In a case like this where you want to avoid going to court, the best way to avoid it is to be fully prepared to go to court.

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