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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 101417
Experience:  Lawyer
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For the last 37 years I have had a “gentlemans” agreement,

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For the last 37 years I have had a “gentleman’s” agreement, permissive easement to access my property along with two other land partners. TheXXXXXgoes through 3 properties, one property has 80%, another 15% and the other 5% of the road
on their properties. A few years ago, the smaller property with 15% of the road informed us of his wish to cut off our access, as well as the property with 80% of the road. The larger land owner (80% - Jane) has primarily maintained the road with contributions from myself, and land partners over the years.

We (my land partners and I) have offered to build a road on Jane’s property for a legal easement, however she does not want to do this and has insisted that we pay her $20,000 to build the road with only a permissive easement or stop using the road immediately.

What are my legal rights to use this road, if there are any?

What steps should I follow to resolve this?

Please advise.

The property is near Grand Forks, BC in Regional District Kootenay Boundary D

Debra Thal :

Thank you for your question.

Before I begin I want to explain a bit about how the site works.

It may be that I will find that I need to gather further information from you. As well, it's quite possible that you may feel the need to ask me additional questions for further clarification.Please do not worry that you will be charged additionally if I ask you questions or if you need to ask me questions. That is not at all how the site works.

As well, please understand that as a careful lawyer I will always give you an honest answer even if the answer is sometimes not what you were hoping for.

Finally, as we go through the process please do not feel rushed if I ask you a question. You are always free to take your time to gather more information before you post back. As well, please understand that even after you rate me the post will not lock and you could always come back for further clarification if you think of something a bit later on down the road.

Debra Thal :

Are you saying that Jane allowed you to use this right of way with permission until recently?

Debra Thal :


Debra Thal :

Your post is just a bit hard to follow as I don't know who Jane is and at one point you use the pronoun "him".




Debra, yes, I have been using this road with permission from Jane for more than 20 years. The previous owner allowed me to use the road for 10+ years and the owner before that about 7 years.

Debra Thal :

And you clearly don't have any registered easement/right of way on title, do you?

Debra Thal :

And it's Jane that has no changed her mind?


No I do not have any registered easement/right of way on title. Jane at this time will not give us an easement, but wants us to pay for road building and only get verbal permission to use the road

The chat was having trouble staying online.

Please reply back to this post instead.

You cannot compel Jane to allow you to use her property.

Because this was done, with permission, this means that you cannot acquire a right to use it by way of adverse possession. That is where you use a property openly and continuously by without permission.

There is no way you should agree to pay for a road without a written contract. You need to be able to easily enforce your rights. In fact it would be fair for her to allow you to register an easement on title.

For these reasons I think your next step should be to consult with a lawyer face to face with a view to retaining the lawyer to send Jane a letter trying to negotiate something that will be mutually beneficial.

You can contact the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association and use their Lawyer Referral Service. You will be given the name of a lawyer and can consult with the lawyer and the first half hour will be $25.

The number is:

604.687.3221 or 1.800.663.1919.

Let me know if you need any further clarification.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Debra, Thanks for the explanation it real is helpful. I wanted to think about it before responding. I am wondering about the road itself, since it has been existence many years and has been used by others over the years. I know it is not a designated (public) gazetted road. What can I research to determine if it can be considered a public access road?

You or someone acting for you could do a title search on the piece of property.

A lawyer can usually do this online in a matter of minutes these days.
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