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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Unhappy ROW Issue in New York State

    I have owned a lakefront property surrounded by others on three sides for 50 years. Our behind neighbor (BN) has a 4' ROW to enable their access to the lake. This ROW is on my adjacent neighbor's (AN) property, bordering the entire length of my property. Due to recent renovations and landscaping on the part of AN, making the 4' passable but not comfortable for some of BN's family members who are wheelchair-bound, BN is getting into a snit. My problem is as follows: BN has alluded to the possibility of taking legal action to procure a ROW through my property, citing that because their children used my property as direct access for 25 or more years (which they did....our children were all good friends) that that may constitute enough time to have that land become "public" so to speak. BN would rather not deal with AN so now I'm in the crosshairs. Can they do this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: ROW Issue in New York State

    You need to get the use firmly into the "permissive" category historically, which will prevent it ripening into an easement.

    You might notify BN in writing by letter with signature confirmation that you and yours have happily allowed access permissively over the years, but as BN has changed the circumstances of the relationship you are withdrawing permission and any continued attempt to use your property will be regarded as a trespass.

    Run this past a local (or semi local) attorney for the actual wording of the letter, and have the attorney compose and send the letter.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Default Re: ROW Issue in New York State

    In New York, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years. New York Real Prop. A&P.L. 501-551.

    BN has an existing ROW with AN. Changing that ROW for convenience would probably not look good in court for BN.

    I agree with the previous comment. Send a RR letter withdrawing permission and defer BN to AN for a resolution...then install a fence.

    BTW...AN cannot change the ROW dimensions or path without BN's permission, nor can they landscape within the ROW.

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