We live in Snohomish county, Washington and have had a gate on our private driveway for years. There are a few neighbors who have legal access from perpetual non-exclusive easement but have a key to use the gate. They also have another legal easement to get to their house.
When we bought our home 4 years ago the gate was closed and on our property. Now, we given others easement rights but in attorney paperwork said they need to lock the gate. Now, another neighbor who had easement many years ago decided to just come and take the gate home. Come to find out it was their gate. We had been under the impression it was ours since it was on our property when we bought the house.
Anyways, they do not want a gate now. I have attorney paperwork with other easement right neighbors the gate needs to be closed.
Can they make this decision? Can I buy another gate and put it up in same place? All other neighbors want the gate.
There are complications in your posted question that will require reviewing the documents and the history before a conclusion can be made. I short consultation with a real property attorney with the documents will be efficient and inexpensive.
The general rule is that people who share an access easement are allowed to install a gate, and lock it too, but only if all users have the key (or combination). One person, whether a user or the owner of the burdened property, cannot unreasonably interfere with the access rights of others. A locked gate is not deemed unreasonable. The easement documents could change that conclusion.
In addition to a a discussion with an attorney, I also recommend a letter to all users and the owner of the burdened property to arrange a meeting to discuss. The issues include paying for a gate, designing the gate, maintenance duties and the issue about locking.
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