Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

Right of way for a driveway

We gave our neighbor a 50-foot right of way to put a driveway in and we share the entrance. According to our property assessment that is still our property so what does that right of way mean exactly? They are considering paving the driveway they use and we share the entrance way. I am correct to say that we only agreed to let them ''use'' the 50 feet for the driveway and that we did not ''give'' the property to them?

Asked on 10/05/06, 3:10 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Gerald Hershenson Law Office of Gerald M. Hershenson

Re: Right of way for a driveway

A "right of way" is merely giving access to your property for a specific purpose. Any right of way should be in writing and filed of record. You have effected the ownership rights of your property and possible probllems at time of resale. Issues regarding maintaince and use of the driveway should be fixed in writing and recorded in the Recorder of Deeds. Suggest you consult an attorney.

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Answered on 10/05/06, 3:26 pm
Roger Traversa Arjont Group (Law Office of Roger Traversa)

Re: Right of way for a driveway

You asked what rights and duties a right of way entails.

A right of way is simply permission to use property for ingress and egress. This is usually filed with the local clerk (or prothontary) and becaomes part of the land record. The underlying property still belongs to the owner (grantor) but the owner has granted to the grantee a right to use the right of way as a matter of deed. The grantee has the right to use the property as a means of ingress and egress (or for whatever purpose the right of way was established). Neither party may improve the property in any manner without the agreement and approval of the other party.

If the property is improved the improvements are owned by the owner of the underlying property (and taxable to the grantor).

Based on the explanation you gave, your neighbor is proposing to pave your land and thereby increase the taxable value of your land.

A right of way really is nothing more than formal permission to enetr or travel across a piece of property. They are very commonly used by neighbors. In fact you will also likely have a statutory right of way granted to the locality running parallel to the road, and the will have granted a right of way to the utility company for utility/pole placement, attachment, and maintainence.

You really should consult with an attorney who can become familiar with te situation. This is a situation that could easily boil over into a neighborly fued without some sage advice.


Roger Traversa

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Answered on 10/05/06, 3:38 pm

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