What are my rights regarding a shared driveway?

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2012

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What are my rights regarding a shared driveway?

I share a driveway with my neighbor. And yes, the 2 properties were held by the same owner before we bought our respective houses (14 and 13 years ago, respectively). My problem is this – the shared driveway has not been used by either one of us for cars to park in back. My neighbor built a fence with a 3 ft gate off the corner of his house to the back of his lot (just touching the shared driveway). I’ve done my best to keep the shared driveway clear as of course he will not allow me anything in this shared section. Then 5 years ago he built a stairway off the house coming over 2 feet into the shared driveway and told me this was legal. Is this legal? As now he is giving me trouble for planting a small tree that sticks out as far as his stairway.

Asked on October 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends on whether this truly is a shared driveway--a single driveway, owned by one of you, with an easement granted to the other; or two side-by-side driveways without a visible separation; and then furthermore, if it is two side-by-sides, whether each of you has an easement, or right to use and not be obstructed from, the other's portion, or whether you do not in fact have such easements. Your rights differ in all these cases; for example, I have what appears to be a shared driveway, but actually is two separate drives without a border or separation. Of the 13' width, I own 7' and my neighbor owns 6' and neither us has an easement over the other's portion; we each could technically exclude the other from our part of the driveway.

To answer your question, therefore, you should review the deed or survey for your land with a real estate attorney, to see what the situation is and what rights you and your neighbor each have.

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