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Fall River MA Real Estate Laws: Who Has Rights Over a Driveway on Two Properties?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2015 | On the Radio

Real estate law can be a really complicated and heated topic. No one wants their home and property infringed upon; however, certain rules are put into place to protect all parties from an unjust outcome.
Take, for example, one of our recent Fall River callers.

The caller had purchased a lot adjacent to his mother’s home and continued to build a home on that property. While building the home, our caller was well aware that there was no room for a functional driveway.

His mother, at the time, granted him access to her property to build a driveway, and promised to leave the agreement in the will.

But she did not.

Now, with his mother deceased, our Fall River caller’s sister moved into the property and, according to the caller, took issue with the driveway. But since our caller has had a driveway on that property since 1962, does he have any legal rights to continue to use it?

Yes, he most likely does.

What you should know about real estate adverse possession in the Greater Fall River area

Our caller’s problem is not unique to this area. Pick a Fall River neighborhood (say, over on Montgomery in the North End, or farther south at Father Kelly) and you’ll be certain to see the type of close-knit neighborhoods where the luxury of a driveway isn’t always guaranteed.

Therefore, it’s important you understand your rights, and the real estate laws involved, regarding property and your use of that property.

Adverse possession and easement by prescription

These two laws likely give our caller rights to use his established driveway. Take, for example, the language found within adverse possession. This entitles someone to another’s real property – without compensation – if he or she can demonstrate that they’ve been holding that property for a specified period of time, in a manner that conflicts with the true owner’s rights.

Seeing that our caller has been using that property specifically as a driveway for the better part of 50 years likely gives him some legal footing to stand on.

Concerning a real estate matter, you may not always want to pursue legal action

While our caller may win his case, it’s not always the best idea to take this type of case to court. Sure, there are times when it’s unavoidable. Say, for example, the property owner puts up barricades to prevent the usage of that area. Then you likely have no choice.

However, taking it to court can be a lengthy and expensive proposition. In the end, it may be less costly to engage in a financial arrangement with the property owner. If the owner is willing to lease that property, you may discover that the long-term cost of this lease will be less than the cost of pursuing legal action.

Of course, many of our Fall River clients would say, “But it’s the principle.” Perhaps, however, it is important to know all of your options, and the potential drawbacks of your decision.

Are you facing any type of real estate battle with one of your neighbors in Fall River, MA? We encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Sabra & Aspden to learn more about how we help clients throughout Southeastern, MA and Rhode Island navigate the legal system. Contact us today at 508-674-0890 or email @ [email protected].