can they legally fo this

We own property 98 acres at one time
before we inherited it it was 100. Two
of them were separated and given to a
family member. Those 2 acres have our
only driveway out of this property. It
was recently sold and the new owners
have sued us to remove us from using it
out of our property. An agreement was
made which is bullshit cause otherwise
they were closing it. Do they have that
right cause now we have to gravel the
drive every year, can’t stop on it for
any reason. I can’t understand how they
can legally do it. They have all the
control. What can I do

Asked on July 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF this is the only *possible* way to access your land, you can go to court seeking an "easement by prescription": that is, a court order creating a right to access your land over their land, since the court will not allow your land to be totally landlocked. You must have some way to get to your land, under the law.
But there must  be no option--not even a bad one--other than to use their land. If you could, for example, have someone cut and pave a new driveway solely over your land to reach the road, you have to do that, even if it's expensive. Similarly, if you can access a road some other way, even if it takes you out of your way and adds to your travel time to/from home, you have to do that. The mere fact that something would be expensive or inconvenient for you does not give you the right to use another's land against their will. (And that's why they can legally do this: it is *their* land, not yours.) So unless the way the land is configured, there is simply no option to have a driveway or access route but over their land, and you cannot create an access anywhere else on your 98 acres, you do not have legal rights to use their land and instead have to either build your own access or work things out voluntarily with your neighbor.


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