We have been landlocked now for over three years. He sent us a letter wanting $12000.00 and 5 acres of our land in trade for using the road on his property. We have been landlocked for 3 years now. What do we do?
If the prior use was made with the consent of the prior owner, then you do not have a prescriptive easement.
If you lot is truly landlocked - meaning that none of its boundary lines touches a public roadway - then you may have a claim for an easement by necessity. If any boundary line touches a roadway, you may need to cut in a new driveway.
You should consult with a local real estate litigator.
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What do you do? You need to consult counsel whether or not you wish to agree to the terms offered by the new owner.
You may have established an easement by prescriptive use or there may be some other legal basis, depending on the exact facts, which would establish an easement assuming you do not have one by grant. You can then determine your best option: litigate or settle with the new owner.
Litigation is expensive and would definitely cost more than $12,000. Depending on the value to you of the 5 acres, settlement where you obtain a recorded grant of easement that runs with the land, might be a preferable option to litigation especially if you can get the new owner to settle on more favorable terms. The new owner should be anxious to avoid litigation, too.
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You may have a prescriptive easement already. Consult an attorney in your area.
DISCLAIMER: Brandy A. Peeples is licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland. This answer is being provided for informational purposes only and the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. For legal advice relating to your specific situation, I strongly urge you to consult with an attorney in your area. NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH ME ARE TO BE CONSTRUED AS ARISING FROM AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP AND NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP WILL BE ESTABLISHED WITH ME UNLESS I HAVE EXPRESSLY AGREED TO UNDERTAKE YOUR REPRESENTATION, WHICH INCLUDES THE EXECUTION OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT OF RETAINER.
Land Use / Zoning Attorney
First, consult your deed and see if the easement is actually on there. It may have been granted by the previous owner. If not, you may have acquired this easement by prescription, but you will need to consult an attorney in any event, unless you can convince him the easement was granted previously.
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The easement is not extinguished simply because the property has been sold. Easements run with the land. You should consult with an attorney right away to determine whether you need to take legal action within a statute of limitations.
Timothy V. Kassouni