Passageway Easements

This week, I finished settling a lawsuit I have worked on for several years concerning passageway easements. This is an interesting area of law that touches upon many nuances of real estate.

What are Passageway Easements?

An easement is a legal right to use someone else’s property. Easements can be used in infinite scenarios, such as providing beach access to a landlocked property or permitting a utility company to enter a residential backyard for work on a sewer line.

Importantly, an easement does not grant property ownership but only a right to use someone else’s property. Often, easement rights are limited in scope and duration. For example, a person may have the right to walk on another’s property to access a lake but may not be allowed to drive motor vehicles through the easement area.

Passageway easements are among the most common types of easements. As a general rule, such an easement only allows a person to pass through another’s property and not obstruct it.

Resolving a Passageway Easement Dispute

As with any real estate matter, disputes involving easement rights can arise. In this case, I represented several clients whose property gave their neighbor a passageway easement. This allowed the neighbors to cross my clients’ driveway to get to and from their home.

A dispute arose because these neighbors began parking in my clients’ driveway, which blocked access through the property. This caused problems for my clients, who could not park in the back of their home due to this blockage.

To resolve this matter, I filed a Land Court lawsuit and obtained a preliminary injunction against the neighbors, which prevented them from parking in the driveway during the case. We eventually settled, and the neighbors agreed, in writing, to stop parking in the driveway. With the Court’s approval, a copy of this approved agreement is recorded in the land records so future property owners are on notice about this matter.

As with most real estate disputes, settlement is always best. Litigation is expensive, and if I can resolve the matter short of trial, I jump at the chance to do so.

Final Thoughts

If you need assistance with a dispute concerning passageway easements, contact me for a consultation.