What to do if a piece of property has been used as an alley between 2 buildings for 75 years and now one property owner says that it belongs to them and is refusing the other owner access?

There is a map from INDOT that shows it is an alley. What can

we do.

Asked on September 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can take him to court by a legal action filed in chancery court (a part or division of county court) seeking a "declaratory judgment" (official--and enforceable-court determination) as to who owns that strip of land and (related but not identical question) what are the access rights to it? (E.g., even if property owner A owns it, does B have an "easement" to access it?) As long as your building is owned by you personally and not an LLC or corporation, you are allowed to bring this action yourself if you want, to save on costs ("pro se"), though, of course, having an attorney (e.g. a real estate lawyer) is recommended. If the building owner is an LLC or corporation, you must have an attorney (a person can only represent him/herself; an LLC or corporation is a separate legal person and needs an attorney).

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