Washington, DC asked in Land Use & Zoning and Real Estate Law for Maryland

Q: Can an easement on our property to our neighbors house be closed if they have an alternative driveway on their land?

Hi. We have an easement that was set up in the 1960’s that runs through our backyard to our neighbor's house which we believe was the original neighbor's only driveway to their home decades ago, so a necessity for their property. Now the easement acts as a second driveway for them across our backyard but is not necessary anymore and even takes a longer route in the opposite direction to the main road. Unfortunately, the neighbors use the easement in a bizarre walking routine many times a day into our property staring at us and visiting our property. Also, they redirect all their vehicle traffic off their main drive and onto the easement. We find all of the use bizarre and a real burden on us and our property. The easement deeds state ingress and egress forever for the neighbors heirs and assigns. The use is 100% avoidable and unnecessary. In Maryland, what are the chances please getting this easement removed? The neighbors are not open to any negotiation.

1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas C. Valkenet
Thomas C. Valkenet
  • Real Estate Law Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: A common issue. A recorded easement may be extinguished by a new recording, executed by all. You may have claims for mis-use or over-burdening, but the recorded instrument grants the rights, whatever it says. The concept of "necessity" is irrelevant to a recorded easement. The neighbor could have a dozen recorded easements, and yours would remain binding. A recorded easement may be abandoned, but your facts do not appear to support this claim.

The short answer is that you will not get a definite answer unless a lawyer actually reads your instrument and discusses the surrounding facts with you.

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