Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

This is a long read. I am sorry to put you through it, but it is a complex issue. Everything detail is necessary to understand and describe the situation. There is just no other way to put it.

My family purchased a piece of property about 15 years ago. The land resides on top of the mountain with no running water, sewer, or electric. Our land is also land locked on all sides. In order to access the property, it takes a 4 wheel drive vehicle and a half an hour trip up the mountain road, which is very narrow and unpaved; there is no other way or option to get to our property. The road cuts along property lines and, in some cases lower on the mountain, through private property. This means the road is privately owned by various property owners on the way up the mountain. This is where our problem resides.

The neighbor below us (which I will refer to as neighbor 1 to avoid confusion) owns the portion of the road that leads to our property. The portion of road that neighbor 1 owns has three drive ways off of it (one being ours and 2 being other neighboring properties), before continuing on to other properties on the top of the mountain. A dispute occurred about 6 years ago between neighbor 1 and us and we stopped going up to the property to avoid the headache/harassment. Well after the dispute, neighbor 1 blocked off the road at his property line, preventing any property owners, including us, from passing to access their properties. That didnít last long for some reason and neighbor 1 took the block down.

I went up there for bear season last year; the first time I have been there since the dispute 6 years ago. I learned that after neighbor 1 took the road block down, they forced one cabin with a drive way adjoining to the portion of the road to cut a new driveway that would adjoin the road below the portion of the road that they own. They (neighbor 1) also told the other property owner (who stopped going up there because of the antics of neighbor 1) with a drive way adjoining the section of road they (neighbor 1) own that he had to move his driveway to the other side of his property pin; not even 2 feet from the existing driveway. When I was up there last year, I was confronted by neighbor 1 while I was on the road and he told me that I was trespassing and we had to also move our drive way (which is literally on his property line) to the other side of his property line; once again not even 2 feet from the existing driveway. The right of way to use the road, which has been established for quite some time now (my best guess being close to 50 years, if not longer) is clearly specified in the deed.

There are a few other things that you should know about the situation and neighbor 1, to further illustrate what we are dealing with. We have had other disputes unrelated to the road issue with them throughout our ownership of the property. They have cut trees down, big valuable trees, on our property. They have chased a lumber surveying crew off our property. After the dispute 6 years ago, family members and others from cabins continued to us the property. On more than one occasion while hunting on our property, they (family and friends) ran into members of neighbor 1ís cabin that claimed that they were trespassing and that neighbor 1 bought our property! Two years ago my brother in-law shot a bear on our property. The Game Commission wanted to see the gut pile and found nothing suspicious, just a routine check; the Game Commission turned around and left. Last year, when I was confronted by neighbor 1, he accused us of bring the game commission up the mountain and that we told them neighbor 1 was baiting and that neighbor 1 was harassed about it by the Game Commission; all false. Also, last year during bear season, members of neighbor 1ís cabin were hunting on the bottom of our property, sitting right atop his ATV. Then about 8:00 am two hunters from their cabin came walking through our property on a drive to the fellow sitting on the ATV!

That is as clear and simple as I can put the situation. I know your probably think that this is nuts and it is. We donít utilize the land because of neighbor 1. Now that I am older, I would like to start hunting it again but donít want to deal with neighbor 1. We have thought of many ways to deal with the situation including legal resolutions. But just donít know how to go about it. Please let me know what you think on how to go about resolving this situation.

Thanks for the help, advice, and reading
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:00 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

Is neighbor 1 a permanent resident of his property?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:04 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

If you have legal right of way to use the driveway I don't see why there is an issue. Tell him to stick it.

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:05 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

pay for a survey and get a lawyer to research the right of way agreement...may cost a little bit of money but you will be able to use YOUR property without being harassed

take a kid hunting and fishing it will keep them out of trouble
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:06 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

have the right of way surveyed and clearly marked. or the whole thing if you can afford it. if it is a legal ROW, he can't stop you from using it. if he tries, call the PSP.

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:10 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

If your right of way is deeded, #1 will lose the battle if you choose to fight ( Court )
In most cases, if you can prove the ROW was used for a substancial period of time, then o one can close it.
If its important to you, go talk to an Attorney and settle it with a letter, its pretty simple really.
My main camp has a ROW ( deeded ) that cuts smack through the center of 40 acres of prime hunting ground of a neighbor to access a 130 acre piece of ours. We try to tell them when we are going to drive it so they can take advantage of the action also. We have never had a problem with them, because we include them when possible.

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:10 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

Tell neighbor #1 and his friends/relatives to get off your property.

They are trespassing. If they come on your property take video/pictures.

Call the police if they don't comply.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:22 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

Seems as though neighbor 1 is hassling you to keep your off of your own property and then hunting it as they please.

Do it the right way, have the right away searched and if it is deeded as access to your property have a lawyer send them a letter statint such and not to harass you as well as a warning to stay off of your property or they will be subject to trespass fines.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 10:24 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

A right of way in your deed may or may not give you the right to cross other properties. It depends on who sold what lots when and who granted the right of way. For instance, If I sell am lot to Mr. X, any right of way I give him across property of Mr. Y is no good.

It may also have been a public road that was closed during the depression. The common practice was that such roads, were abandoned by the municipality but to remain open for the adjoining landowners.

After 50 years, you probably have a deeded right of way as well as a right of way by adverse possession. (Although normally, adverse possession requires some sort of fencing or hedge, but not always.)

Get a local lawyer, and put the neighbor in his place. At least a letter enclosing legal proof of the right of way. And if it exists, proof that when neighbor acquired his property, the easement/right of way was already an encumbrance on his property. The letter should also warn him the interference with your access will be met with a civil suit and in view of his past animosity, he is warned to stay off your property,

Not all right of ways can be surveyed. Sometimes the old timers merely provided the right to cross over, or to use an old logging path. Sometimes, it was an implied right of way, ie if a landowner along the road sells off his back 40 acres, there is an implied easement to cross his property to get to from the road to the lot he sold off.

it is a headache that needs to be addressed NOW, firmly and finally. Make it cost him money.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-12-2013, 11:54 PM
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Re: Need Help/Opinions on Neighbor Issues

If you have a deeded right of way, you can force the issue. If you don't have access, you can get a 'right of necessity'. Under Pa law, no land can be landlocked keeping an owner off their property. The court will grant access depending on a variety of factors such as if the piece of land locked property was originally part of a larger tract that was subdivided. If so, access will go thru there first. Otherwise, they will usually look for the easiest access that doesn't infringe on a neighboring property.

This is what I know from going thru this around 10 years ago and hiring a real estate attorney. He advised me back then it would cost around $2,500 to force a right of necessity but I would probably be further ahead by paying a little more to the neighbor and seeing if he would sell access. I ended up paying $7,500 and got the access where I wanted and ended up getting a good neighbor as well.

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