Do I have a case against my neighbor for placing and refusing to remove, a locked gate across the road to my lot?

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Do I have a case against my neighbor for placing and refusing to remove, a locked gate across the road to my lot?

We bought 41 acres about three years ago in a gated community. The lot we have is one of 3 or 4 others that have a dirt road for access. A couple of the neighbors decided to put gravel on the road and to cut the weeds around the road. We went down to the property 1 weekend about a year ago and discovered that they have place 2 locked gates, one on each end. We have personally asked these neighbors to remove the gates; they refuse saying that they don’t want through traffic using that road. We are now trying to sell the property and the agents can’t get to it for showings.

Asked on October 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You have an easement by necessity since you don't have any other reasonable access to your property without the road.  Your neighbor cannot prevent ingress and egress (entry and exit) to your property and that is why you have an easement by necessity.  You can sue your neighbor for declaratory relief to establish your easement by necessity.

If you were not in the process of selling the property and were going to continue as owner and the neighbor continued blocking the property with the locked gate, then an injunction would be an option to consider to prevent the neighbor from blocking access to the property.  An injunction would be an option because land is unique and an injunction would avoid multiplicity of lawsuits due to the neighbor repeatedly blocking the property.  The court would then balance the competing interests and the benefit and burden; the benefit to the neighbor if the road is blocked versus the burden to you if the road is blocked to determine whether or not an injunction is granted.


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