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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I live in Los Angeles county. My neighbors recently

Customer Question

I live in Los Angeles county. My neighbors recently purchased adjacent land to their property and my property that our little Equestrian neighborhood has used to access the trails for over 40 years. Last May (2015) they fenced off their newly aquired property and placed no trespassing signs in front of our gate denying the community access. Our gate has been used along with another neighbor's to access the property. Our neighborhood has been courteous to comply but we are really upset about this. Does this not fall under Prescriptive Easement? Upon looking at the platt maps, the road is listed as Private and Future Street. Not to mention, it follows the gasline easement. What can we do about this. We are basically landlocked to the trails on this side. We now have to cross a busy 2 lane highway and walk 1/4 adjacent to it and cross again to access the trails. This is not a safe option for us at all.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you with this matter today.

Unfortunately, based on what you posted here, I doubt that you have access rights across this parcel.

A "prescriptive easement" rarely exists (it is a form of "adverse possession" which also rarely exists, particularly in states such as California which, in addition to occupying the land also require you to pay the property tax in order to establish a claim to ownership).

Similarly the notion that your property is landlocked is not quite true. Your property is not landlocked in the sense that you cannot access it, you simply do not have access to the public recreation areas in the same manner that you would if the neighbor would allow access across their private property. (This is not landlocked property).

What you have been enjoying is commonly referred to as a "borrowed access" (similar to a "borrowed view" - when a property enjoys an unobstructed view due to an undeveloped neighboring lot, then objects when a neighbor suddenly builds on the lot obstructing "their" view).

However, like most things, this does not mean that there cannot be some reasonable argument for an extension of law or some claim that can be made to force your neighbor to open their private property to your personal use.

(See: for a discussion).

If you wish to pursue such a legal claim I would suggest that you speak to a local property law attorney with some litigation experience, and prepare to spend a fair amount of money in litigation expenses (your neighbor is not reasonably going to be expected to "roll over" on this one and grant access across the property they just paid for - so be prepared for a legal battle to get this access).