If our neighbor uses our driveway, can we stop the use?

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If our neighbor uses our driveway, can we stop the use?

We purchased a home 19 years ago. The neighbor has a circular driveway that she has attached to ours. She uses it all the time to get in and out of her driveway and also her friends and work trucks if she is having something done. Can we stop her from using the driveway? I can’t find any easment agreements.

Asked on February 10, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Is your driveway the only possible access to her land? Or it just a convenience for her to connect to and use your driveway, but she could, if she chose, connect directly to the street?
If she has no other access (if her property is "landlocked"), if you deny her access to her property, she could most likely go to a court and get an "easement by prescription" (also sometimes called "easement by necessity") created, to allow her access. But that's only if she must transverse you land for access.
If she could access the road/street some other way and it's just convenient for her to use your driveway, she has NO right to do so without your permission. A good way to begin would be to first talk to her about this; then follow up with a letter stating that she cannot use your driveway (send the letter some way or ways you can prove delivery of it); then block the connection--e.g. put planters, flowerpots, a rail or fence, etc. across the connection (100% on your side of the property. If she still tries to access your driveway or moves the barrier, contact the police and file trespassing charges.
 


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