Charlottesville, VA asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia

Q: Can a private individual own a state road?

A year after purchasing my home I found out that the neighbor across the street owns across the road and about 10 feet onto my front lawn, along the the entire front of my property. We have a deeded right of way, which we believed to be with the town, as there is an old road bed there. We have done some clearing of the land, which is when we found this out, and now want to move our driveway to the center of the property for aesthetics and horse pastures. We asked her for a new right of way and she flatly refused, there is no reason this should bother her, or affect her at all except that she has the power over the decision. Is there any recourse? Is this even legal that the town allowed the sale of her property to her with the street? The street was in place many years prior to her ownership? I realize that I'm only giving you a little info here, I just don't know where to turn next.

1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: It is possible for a private individual to own the land on which a right of way is given to another. Many jurisdictions prohibit creating and selling parcels that are “landlocked,” but it sounds like yours isn’t. Often, though, the neighbor’s claimed rights don’t match the recorded rights. The next step is to get a title search and a survey, and then have a lawyer read them.

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