We recently purchased a property that did not have a legal survey done on it, so we paid for one,. The survey showed that the driveway to our property and the bar next door was actually owned (the majority of it) by us.
The owners have turned nasty and are unwilling to discuss this and we are left wondering what our rights are.
They do not have permission to use this as their driveway, (we have not given them an easement) and yet they do anyway. What are our rights, or what options do we have to either stop them or require them to pay and maintain the road?
The bar owner may have a prescriptive easement for use of the portion of the driveway that is on your property. Similarly, you may have a prescriptive easement for use of the portion of the driveway on the bar owner's property. A prescriptive easement is not in writing. It comes into existence where, among other things, a person uses another person's property, without permission, for a period of ten years. There are other requirements as well, and each case turns on the peculiar facts of the situation. To understand better whether the bar owners has a prescriptive easement over a portion of your property, you may want to consult with an attorney who has experience with boundary disputes.
You should probably retain an attorney to examine the details and particulars of your situation.
See Nw. Cities Gas Co. v. W. Fuel Co., 13 Wn.2d 75, 123 P.2d 771 (1942).
According to the court in Zonnebloem, LLC v. Blue Bay Holdings, LLC, 200 Wn. App. 178, 401 P.3d 468 (2017) "
"¶43 An easement can be created by an express grant in a written instrument or by adverse use.3 810 Props. v. Jump, 141 Wn. App. 688, 696, 170 P.3d 1209 (2007). Establishing an easement through adverse use, known as a prescriptive easement, requires a person claiming the eaeement to use another's land for a period of 10 years in a manner that satisfies certain elements. Gamboa v. Clark, 183 Wn.2d 38, 43, 348 P.3d 1214 (2015). When the claimant satisfies the requirements of a prescriptive easement for 10 years, ownership of that easement automatically vests without the necessity of filing suit to quiet title. See Gorman v. City of Woodinville, 175 Wn.2d 68, 72, 74, 283 P.3d 1082 (2012) (stating rule for adverse possession).
¶44 Prescriptive rights are not favored in the law. Gamboa, 183 Wn.2d at 43. To establish a prescriptive easement, the person claiming the easement has the burden of proving that he or she used another person's land for 10 years in a manner that (1) was open and notorious; (2) was continuous or uninterrupted; (3) passed over a uniform route; (4) was adverse to the servient estate owner; and (5) occurred with the servient estate owner's knowledge, so that the servient owner could have asserted his or her legal rights. Id."
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