Is there a right of way law?

We are having some trouble with a new neighbor down at the park where my parents have a cottage. We have owned the land there for about 12 or 13 years and until recently, when the new neighbor bought the land right behind both our cottages, we were using a trail that runs down to the beach. Now that the new neighbor he has psoted it and said he will call the cops if we use the trail. Do we have any rights to the trail that we have used longer than the guy has owned the property, especially since he just bought the lkand he posted in the last few months?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

WHat you are referring to is obtaining a prescriptive easement to use the land under the theory of adverse possession.  You are sure that the deed does not have an easmement in it (his and yours)?  What he is doing is staking his claim to the property and telling you point blank that it is his and not yours.  This is a prelude to an action to "quiet title" which is the other side of the coin to an action by "adverse possession" so to speak. A claim of adverse possession can be made if an individual “openly, notoriously and exclusively” uses someone else’s property continuously for 10 years, believing he has the right to do so. You need to really speak with a lawyer and give him or her all the facts.  Good luck.


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