Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

right of way

There has been a 20' right of way across my property since I bought it 32 years ago. It's in my deed. It has been used only to provide access to a field for agricutural purposes by a neighbor farmer, but the deed does not put restrictions on how it can be used.

Now a new owner of my former neighbor's property wants to pave it as a road so he can develop the field the right of way goes to.

Can he legally do this?

Asked on 4/20/06, 2:51 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Roger Traversa Arjont Group (Law Office of Roger Traversa)

Re: right of way

Generally no. The right of way was to grant access to a landlocked piece of property. The right of way allows the access to the landlocked property but does not give that owner the right to improve the property in any way. Put simply, it allows the property owner access for the original purpose and nothing more, which in this case seems to have been farming.

A new owner cannot put a greater burden on the servient property owner than the original easement granted. As an easement, you still were responsible for maintaining that piece of land, paying taxes on it and insuring it against risk. As a road, that easement will remove the property from your potential use as part of your property, will increase your taxes as improved, and will increase your risk. Who do you think a road user is going to sue for any injury that they suffer on that road?

Now as to what you can do. You will have to sue the new owner of the property. There are many avenues for you to pursue but the free advice stops here.

Contact me if you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss the matter further.


Roger Traversa

email: [email protected]

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Answered on 4/20/06, 6:06 pm

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