Can I put a gate at the entrance of an easement?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Can I put a gate at the entrance of an easement?

I have a dirt road running through my propery, a farmer has been using it for several years to access the land behind ours. We never granted permission but haven’t stopped him from using it. I would like to put a gate accross the entrance so my kids can ride their bikes on our dirt road without the worry of farm equipment hitting them. Can I put up a gate? Does it have to always be unlocked or can it be locked if I give the farmer a

key? They have threatened to take me to court to make it an easement, so I would like to know if there can be a gate in the case that it was an easement.

Asked on September 27, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First, there is no easement as yet, so at present, you can bar them from using the road. Until and unelss there is an easement, they have no right to access your property, even if, as a courtesy, you have let them do so before.
Second, if they would get an easement if they went to court for one, it would not be worth fully blocking it (see below), because after going through the cost and effort of litigation, he'll get his easement.
But the issue is: would he win if he sought an easement? The issue there is, is his property "landlocked" so that he has to go through yours to get to it--or does he have some other potential access, in that some piece of his property touches a public road, and he has simply been using your road because it is convenient for him? There is no easement for convenience, not if someone can get out to a public road some other way, so if he has some other potential access to his property, he does not have a right to an easement and you can bar him from your property (e.g. put up a locked gate and call the police on him for trespassing if he enters anyway). Only if his property is landlocked and he must go over your land would he be granted an easement.
3) Even he would be or is granted an easement, you can put up a gate to block out other people who don't have an easement, so long as the person (this farmer) with an easement can get through, such as by giving him keys to a lock or putting up a gate with touchpad access and giving him the code.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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