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Ingress and egress rights

Mount Airy, MD |
Filed under: Real estate

We own property that has 50 ft area ingress and egress that backs up to or neighbors land.

Two weeks ago, we saw that a Bob Cat came in and dug up the ingress and egress area we own. It looks to be a driveway about 20 ft wide by about 95 ft long.

I have researched information and reviewed statements from a licensed real estate broker and a licensed surveyor stating that rights of egress, etc. are not accompanied by the right to modify the property and that the neighbor is required to have our permission to install a driveway.

Is my neighbor in violation of code?
Is he required to produce documents to request permission to modify our property even though it is ingress and egress area?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. I'm a bit confused by your situation. You need to look at your property deed to see what an "area of ingress and egress means"...the way I'm reading your question, it appears that your property is encumbered by an easement.

    You have to look to the wording of your deed and any easement granted. Typically, an easement is limited in use and scope, but courts also recognize how those needs can change over time. At the same time, if the easement crosses your land, you have the right not to be unreasonably burdened any further than you (or your predecessor-in-title) agreed to be burdened.

    Without more information, I won't even begin to attempt to give you an answer.


  2. Have you reviewed thoroughly your title insurance policy and the documents mentioned in that policy, especially those on Schedule B? It may be that there is a recorded easement for the "ingress and egress" area that you have described. If so, you must review the rights, obligations, requirements and limitations on the use of that easement area. If the neighbor does not have the right to install a driveway (required by most jurisdictions for occupancy of a residential strucutre), what rights are afforded by the "50 ft area ingress and egress"? If your neighbor intends to use the ingress/egress to access a home, he may well be in violation of code if he fails to install a driveway.

    The author of this post is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This post is intended as general information only, and is not provided as legal advice in connection with any specific set of facts, persons or entities or case, and does not create an attorney-client relationship


  3. If you want to stop it, you will need to have a lawyer send a cease and desist letter at once, and be prepared to proceed with filing a complaint for injunctive relief if it appears they are proceeding with the driveway in violation of your legal rights. I agree that digging out and paving a driveway across your property is not at all a standard right that comes with a right-of-way easement. Also, you do not state whether this is an easement by necessity (which means without it, there would be no means by which the property owner could access his land), or for convenience. This can get expensive if it is litigated by both sides. You need a real estate lawyer who practices and litigates property law disputes.

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