What Can I Do When My Neighbor Tries to Block My Right of Way?

Rights of way and easements are common in Maine.  We probably all know someone who accesses their property or property rights by travelling over someone else’s land by way of an easement.  If your property is set back from a main road, you might have an easement for your driveway to access your land.  Or, you might have an easement to access a dock, a wharf, or a beach.  Easements can be an essential aspect of a real estate transaction.  We have seen many property deals that would never have happened if not for the inclusion of an easement right.

Easements can be created in a number of different ways, but easements are most often granted in deeds and other recordable instruments.  A well-drafted easement will include a detailed description of the location, bounds, and intended purpose of the easement.  Maine courts have consistently ruled that, when the specific boundaries of an easement are clearly described, the owner of the easement has the right to use the entire area of the easement and is not limited to what is necessary or convenient.  Moreover, the courts have also ruled that the owner of property with an easement running over it does not have the right to block or impair the effective use of the easement.

However, it is not uncommon to see easement deeds that are ambiguous or unclear about the intended use, size and location of the easement.  Unfortunately, ambiguity over the location of a boundary or the proper use of an easement can lead to highly charged and emotional legal disputes between friends and neighbors.

If you have a dispute with a neighbor over the right to use an easement, or the proper use of an easement, you need an attorney who understands the law, and who also understands the emotional and financial burden that boundary disputes can put on property owners.  At Skelton Taintor & Abbott, we understand these issues and have experience resolving easement-related conflicts. The combined expertise of our Real Estate and Civil Litigation teams gives us the unique ability to handle your case effectively and efficiently.  We will help you to find creative and cost effective solutions.

If you have questions about your property rights, contact Avery Dandreta from Skelton Taintor & Abbott’s Real Estate group, or Braden Clement from the Civil Litigation team.  You can find us on our website at www.sta-law.com, or by calling 207-784-3200.

This article is not legal advice but should be considered as general guidance in the area of real estate law.  You can contact us at 207.784.3200. Skelton Taintor & Abbott is a full service law firm providing legal services to individuals, companies, and municipalities throughout Maine. It has been in operation since its founding in 1853.

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