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What Is a Driveway Easement?

A driveway easement typically allows the owner of a piece of property to grant use for a specific purpose, like the use of the landowner's driveway to access another landlocked property.
One example where a driveway easement may be needed is when neighbors need to share a parking area.
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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2014
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A driveway easement, like other property easements, typically allows the owner of a piece of property to grant use for a specific purpose. Generally, an easement does not provide possession rights to the property; rather, another party is given limited use of the property, sometimes for a set length of time. One example of a driveway easement is sharing parking with another neighbor. Another example is when a driveway separates two homes that are extremely close together. In this case, the easement may allow a neighbor to set up a ladder to access his own roof.

Specific rights under a driveway easement may vary by jurisdiction; local ordinances and any other applicable laws typically should be checked beforehand. An assessor’s office may have property maps that indicate the boundaries of the easement, along with any other easements on the property. In some cases, a property owner may give verbal permission or a license for driveway use and this is considered less binding than an easement. Licenses tend to also be easier to change or dissolve.

There are generally two types of easements: public and private. Driveway easements tend to be private agreements between people and a business or other organization. A public easement allows for public use. An easement may also be granted if a person simply uses the property for a certain amount of time. This can be done without formal permission from the property owner.

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When entering into or maintaining an easement agreement, it usually is important to keep the lines of communication open so there are no surprises on either side. Problems can arise when one or both parties fail to follow the terms of the driveway easement. A poor relationship with a neighbor or other party to the easement can create unnecessary problems.

One potential problem area is whether both parties are expected to maintain the property. It should be very clear whether a certain amount of maintenance is required. This may involve services for plowing the driveway or making upgrades, such as resurfacing.

If disputes arise, it typically is recommended that the parties try talking with each other to resolve the issues. In some cases, the conditions of the driveway easement may be renegotiated. If that does not work, a real estate attorney might be contacted to review the easement. It generally is unfair and unwise to proceed with a lawsuit or other collection activity without first trying to resolve the matter with the other party. If the other party deliberately destroys property or refuses to pay for driveway renovations that were previously agreed upon, there is more likely to be recourse for legal action.

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Discuss this Article

anon937984
Post 5

You can create an easement to allow you and your self to use a driveway if the driveway intersects at some point or protrudes into your property line. You as the owner of the property where the driveway protrudes into your property line can grant your neighbor a driveway easement so you both have full access and share all expenses in maintaining the driveway. The contract must be specific to the smallest detail.

anon929948
Post 4

If you never use a driveway that crosses your property to reach another person's property, who is responsible for maintaining that driveway? Should that person drive in your yard to keep dirt off his car?

anon356674
Post 3

I have granted a driveway easement to a neighbor behind me. During our rifle gun season, I put up an open cable/latch to deter trespass shooters. The neighbor behind me has continued to destroy my cable and posts. Can I legally cable this driveway, as I'm not locking it, just running a cable across during our nine day deer hunt season?

anon298267
Post 2

What can I do if the neighbour keeps parking in the keep access clear shared driveway?

anon253631
Post 1

Our driveway easement is shared among several neighbors. We live in a heavily wooded area. The driveway runs through the woods. If a tree falls that is on one of the neighbors property on to the driveway isn't it the person who owns the land's responsibility?

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