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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 31765
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am currently in a boundary dispute with a neighbor. We

Customer Question

I am currently in a boundary dispute with a neighbor. We purchased 38 acres of land 10 years ago. We own a 10 foot stretch of land from the main road to our acreage. When we had it surveyed, the surveyer confirmed the 10 feet but said it "meandered" in the notes on the bottom of the survey. The road was already established and had been used by the previous owners for over 50 years. We maintained the road and have a 3rd neighbor who uses it for access to his land locked property, a small parcel of property that was kept in the family of the original owners. We now have a 3rd neighbor who has adjacent acreage that says that he owns most of the road and wants to deny us access to the road. After having the land resurveyed we find that most of the access road is owned by him and that our land is actually about 8 feet off the driveway in a 4th adjacent neighbor's farm. Our neighbor who owns part of the road wants us to no longer use "his" road and cut our own road on our newly discovered property. We have been using this road as ours, maintaining it, and caring for it for over 10 years under the assumption that we owned the entire thing. Need advice - can we legally continue to use the road even though our land is slightly on and off the road or are we legally obligated to create a road off his property.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Bristol, Virginia
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: no although he is threatening to consult a lawyer.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Roger replied 3 months ago.

Hi - my name is ***** ***** I'll be glad to assist.

Does your deed refer to the easement?

Expert:  Roger replied 3 months ago.

If so, you can seek to enforce the easement you have in writing and use it as authority to continue using the driveway.

If there is no written easement, you would have to claim an easement by prescription.

The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that, in order for one to establish a private right of way over someone else’s property by prescription, the one claiming the right of way “must prove that his use of the roadway was adverse, under a color of right, exclusive, continuous, uninterrupted, and with the knowledge and acquiescence of the owners of the land over which it passes, and that the use has continued for a period of at least 20 years.” Pettus v. Keeling, 232 Va. 483, 485 (1987).

Expert:  Roger replied 3 months ago.

IF the road has been used by you and your predecessors in interest for 50 consecutive years, then you can use the law of tacking to add your use together to establish the 20 year period for obtaining an easement by prescription.