Our house is located on a private road, owned by the farmer who sold the lots. We own property on both sides of the road. Our title says we have a permanent easement allowing us access on the road to a connecting public road. Our neighbors, whose houses lie between our house and the connecting public road, have extended their driveways (beyond their lot lines, into this private roadway) with grass and concrete, when the “road” was paved in 2004. This forced the newly-paved “road” onto our property, and extended theirs by an equivalent amount. The new “road” covers almost one half of my lot, which limits use of the property. There is a Street Association with basic road maintenance authority. We asked the president of the street association to defend the road. The association claims they cannot force the neighbors from the property owned by the farmer – the original private road we have the easement right to use. The paving was done by the County, acting as private contractors. Before they started paving behind our house, we told the street association president, who was there, to make sure they paved the legal road. He claims we never had this conversation. He claims he was only present to oversee the additional placement of asphalt to homeowners’ adjacent driveways and was not responsible for supervising the County paving crew. The paving crew was directed to create a road fifteen feet wide, measuring seven and a half feet to the edges from the crest (middle) of the road. When they were done, they had not followed this guideline. They paved right straight ahead over our property, leaving a wide gap of gravel on one side of what was a well-defined edge of the original and legal road. These gaps were immediately filled in by my neighbors, with clear intent to claim it, and a statement that it was now their property, and not the road, and we should not drive on it. The street association president holds that we should sue the County for doing the road wrong, adding “good luck with that and get in line.” (The Township and County officials say we still own the property and can use it, and suggested we paint lines noting our boundaries. We did that. Someone came along and carefully tarred over the lines we painted while we were gone last winter.) If we erect a fence on our roadside property border, there is not enough room (less than 8 feet) to drive to the connecting public road without driving on what the neighbors are now claiming as their property. Can we force the farmer to eject the neighbors’ occupation of the legal road, because of the original easement granting us (and neighbor to north of us) access to the public road?
State/Country relating to Question: Michigan
Painting lines; tried to purchase adjacent property to return roadside lot to original depth for use as parking (from one of the neighbors who expanded his Driveway - he turned us down); obtained survey showing degree of encroachment, onto our property and of our neighbors onto legal road; attempted to contact current owner of legal road - no response to date.
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. From what you have told me you definitely have legal rights to be exercised at your discretion. You could go two routes and they are not mutually exclusive. You could seek a temporary Injunction as to the right of way in which the survey line is once again marked as to the encroached property and this line is adhered to. You could then seek a court order that either the encroached paved road is removed, and thus restoring your land, or that the developer pay you a reasonable fee for the land that was taken from you by this unlawful act. In either scenario, you will have to seek a court order from a court having jurisdiction over the matter, which will be a court in your county. I feel certain that one of or both of the remedies at law would be granted if you hire a competent attorney to represent you in the matter.
You need to take action quickly however as the longer you wait, the more likely the defendants will assert some sort of Adverse Possession defense.
I hope this helps and best wishes...
9 years practicing IP law and general litigation
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