Is it legal for my neighbor to build a fence for the sole purpose of blocking me from accessing my backyard for parking?

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Is it legal for my neighbor to build a fence for the sole purpose of blocking me from accessing my backyard for parking?

I live in Atlanta and my neighbor built a fence to block my half of the driveway
so I can no longer park behind my house. The plotline for the property clearly
states that it is a joint driveway. My neighbor says that it is not a joint
driveway because my copy of the plotline with a georgia state seal is not valid
because it is from 1970 and was hand written/drawn. I tried explaining to him
that all documents from that time were hand written/drawn because they did not
have computers then. He put a fence up today that completely blocks me from
accessing my parking spot. Can I sue him for harassment he has been harassing me
about parking there for years or can I legally remove the parts of the driveway
that are on my property? I own the driveway entrance by the street.

Asked on August 25, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, do you 1) own the property (the actual spot or location) on which he placed the fence; and/or 2) do you have an easement (a perpetual legal right on a deed or title) to use the driveway. If the answer to either question is "yes," he can't block the driveway and you can compel him to remove it by going to court.
However, if you don't have an easement and don't own the property were the fence sits, he can put up the fence, even if it blocks you from using this parking spot. Neighbor A can use his property, or put up structures on his property, without any concern for the impact on neighbor B, except when there is an easement. (Though there is a *chance* that in a legal action a court could award an easement "by prescription," discussed below.)
In any event, you cannot unilaterally remove his fence, because there is a dispute over the rights to the driveway. When there is a dispute like this, it has to be resolved by the court. A court will look at the surveys, deedes, etc. and determine who has the right to what. Therefore, you need to be bring a legal action in chancery court (a part or division of county court) seeking a "declaratory judgment" as to the property boundaries, existence of an easement, right to use the driveway, etc.
If the court finds against you--that there is no existing right or easement for you to use the driveway, and that you have no property or ownership right to that land--it is still possible that if there is NO other way for you to access part of your property, they you have a right to be awarded an "easement by prescription," or the right to transverse the land to get to otherwise landlocked parts of your property.


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