Rocky Mount, VA asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: If three people with undivided ownership in property disagree on who is allowed on the property, how is that resolved?

In the state of Virginia, three people own an undivided interest in a private road. Other members in the community have a deeded right to ingress and egress over the road. Two of the three owners want to prohibit community members from storing/parking on the road. There are community members with building equipment & boat trailers parked permanently in the road right of way despite having amply space on their own property to store this. The third owner is fine with everything being left where it is (mostly because her brother, who has no ownership in the road, is one of the worst offenders). What rights do the two owners have to stop community members from using their property for storage against the wishes of the third owner?

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

A: The answer probably depends on the deed language and possibly any other recorded agreements, and it might depend on long-term use and interpretation of that language, as well as possible claims of adverse possession. Basically, it the three owners or the owners of the rights of egress and access have undivided and unspecified rights to use the property as an undivided whole, then they may each use it until they obstruct the usage of another. If these are rights of ingress and egress, then that doesn't sound like it includes storage and parking, unless those rights have accrued otherwise by time or interpretation. Your best bet might be to form an association of the owners and establish regulations by a majority vote of those owners so long as it doesn't impair the deeded rights of the others.

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