There are a few different types of easements that may apply to your property, and it’s important to understand the legal ramifications. You may not be the only one who can use your land, even though you do own that land. For instance, if you live in a condo or an HOA, they may have a right to access the property, or you may have an easement for utility services and lines.
One of the most common types of easements is a right-of-way easement, which may be used for a driveway. Often, it exists because some of the driveway is shared by two property owners.
For example, imagine that you live off of a main road. There is water on both sides of your property. Behind that property is another plot of land with a second house on it. Due to the placement of the water, there is no other way to reach the road but to go through your property. As such, you have a shared driveway that crosses your land, reaches your home, and then branches off and goes all the way onto your neighbor’s property.
If there is a proper easement, it means that your neighbor can use your driveway in this manner. You can’t impede their ability to use it, even though it’s on your land. For instance, you cannot take out the shared driveway, plant trees or do other landscaping, and cut your neighbor off from the road.
This seems straightforward, but easements often lead to disputes and confusion, so make sure you know exactly where you stand.