Hamburg, PA asked in Real Estate Law and Municipal Law for Pennsylvania

Q: How can I legally add and deed 1/2 of a paper road to my property? The other 1/2 to my neighbor? It existed since 1956.

Subdivision plan from 1956 shows a named paper road between my property and my neighbor to my right. It runs back into another property behind us. All deeds from 1956 to current, name the road on them as a boundary line with measurements of distance, utility right of way, etc. The property (behind us) that borders all the homes on my side of the street, claim they own the land and that it’s their access to their land and they deny it being a paper road. They are not neighborly at all and harass everyone who has land abutting theirs. They are insistent on spraying herbicide on the strip of land that is the paper road, to kill the grass. Mind you, myself and my neighbor and our families who owned our homes prior to us, have always 100% maintained and mowed the land in question. My driveway from 1958 until 2010 was completely on that piece of land and my sidewalk ran out to it. My neighbor on the right also has a parking pad 1/2 way on it for over 20 years. I have maps and deeds.

1 Lawyer Answer
Cary B. Hall
Cary B. Hall
  • Norristown, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: If your unfriendly neighbors have no other access to their property, then they'll almost certainly get to keep using that "paper road" as a means to reach their property. A court will not render a property virtually worthless and unusable by "landlocking" it, and would provide for a way to reach it by creating an easement across some abutting property at the very least (and usually the least obtrusive and shortest distance to a main road). That doesn't mean that they get to alter the land however they want where their easement lies, however.

Sounds like you'll need to consult with a real estate attorney to review your maps, deeds, etc. to give you an intelligent opinion on how to resolve your dispute. At best, perhaps a letter to your unfriendly neighbors from an attorney resolves things; at worst, filing an action to "quiet title" in your county's Court of Common Pleas may be necessary.

Best of luck to you.

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