Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Maryland

road easement

My wife and I are trying to buy a piece of property approx. 50ft. off a noncounty maint. road. The problem is that our piece of property is behind a lot owned by another person. The plat suggests that there is a old RR road (with tracks pulled out) bordering and crossing our property but also going through the property in front of ours that intersects that noncounty maint. road. We would like to use this to access our lot as a driveway. The problem is that we couldn't find a deeded right of way and the person that owns the property in front of ours refuses to give us a right of way for access to our property which we want to build a house on. We are not sure if the RR road is theirs or state/federal owned for us to use. Are the property owners in front of our lot legally able to land lock us or can we legally give them FMV for the portion we need to use as a driveway back to our lot? What if any are our options?

Asked on 12/03/00, 12:27 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Robert Sher Wagshal and Sher
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Re: road easement

Generally speaking, you can't force someone to sell you a right of way across their property. However, it seems unlikely that the abandoned railroad tracks would be entirely under their control. Have you had a title search of the properties (including the "neighbor's") to see if there are any railroad rights of way? You also might put a contingency in any purchase offers you make that the seller must provide proof of a right of way from the road.

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12/05/00, 4:22 pm

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