Does the neighbor have rights to pass through my property if his parcel is not landlocked?

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Does the neighbor have rights to pass through my property if his parcel is not landlocked?

My wife and I recently purchased a home built over 100 years ago. My neighbor recently told me that he had a right of passage through the middle of my property so that he could wash his car in his back yard. My neighbor’s home is not landlocked and has a street front. He does not have a garage or driveway on his property. My deed does state that there was an alley at the time the deed was written. I followed-up with the city and they told me there had been an unopened alley on my property but the city had abandoned its development more than 21 years ago. They told me the property is mine. Does the neighbor have rights to pass through my property?

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, no, the neighbor would not have the right to pass through your property; he would only be able to do so if an easement existed, which granted him (or anyone owning the home; easements generally go with the property, not the individual that right), or if an easement was necessary--e.g. for a landlocked property. (The law can create easements, even where one was not actually granted or created previously, when they are necessary.) An easement would show on a title search and must be recorded to be effective, so if had a title search done (presumably) when you purchased the property and no easement was found, and if also his propety is not landlocked, then it should be the case that he has no right to pass over your property without your permission.


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