if our neighbors have livestock and so we are forced to keep our gate closed, do we have a right to leave it open?

UPDATED: May 29, 2012

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if our neighbors have livestock and so we are forced to keep our gate closed, do we have a right to leave it open?

We own a portion of land that is engulfed by our neighbor’s property. We have an easement of the only road that leads to our home. Recently, the neighbors have chosen to close the gate of this road, because of livestock on their property. The road is accesible but with an inconvienence of opening and closing the gate each time we leave or enter the road. The neighbors do not use this road; they have a seperate, private access. In our state, the fence out law states that we would be liable and fined if our neighbors livestock (horses) were to roam if the gate happened to be open. What legal grounds do we have with the gate and the closure that our neighbors are imposing on us?

Asked on May 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The problem is you have an easement only. If the portion of the land you own includes the gate, you have every right to inform the neighbors they must choose other means to keep their livestock safe. You may wish to have the local city planning department come by and see if they can survey the land to see whose property is on whose land. If your neighbors encroach on your land, whether directly or through use of their livestock, they are committing trespass and you can use this to make them move their livestock and ensure the gate remains open.

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