DRIVEWAY EASEMENTS: Right of Access versus Right of Ownership

In easement, Misc Topics, Real Estate, right of way, Uncategorized by John Tramontozzi

A Driveway Easement is a “right of way” easement.  It is basically the right of one party to drive over property they don’t own to access property they do own.  In other words you may not be the only one to use your property, even though you own it.

For example, the only way for your neighbor to access their parking area behind their home is to drive over part of your driveway.  If there is an easement in place, you cannot impede your neighbor from doing this. Sometimes there is conflict regarding owners rights versus the rights of the individual(s) seeking access beyond.

Easements are typically permanent unless there is a time limit written into the easement agreement.  This could be the case if the easement was drawn up so that vehicles can access a construction site abutting your property.   

  If purchasing a  property:

You or your representative should check for easements or rights of way as it can affect property value. The existence of a right of way or easement on your property can impact its value and your ability to resell it at a future date. Even if an easement isn’t in use, this does not mean the property is free of any obligation     

 There are a few  ways to terminate an easement:

  1. It could also be that the easement was written so that the agreement ends if your neighbor moves,rents or sells their property.
  2. It could end by mutual agreement.  If the parties agree, they can terminate the easement by written agreement.
  3. It could be by merging of properties.  If one owner purchases the other’s property.


There are a few important things you should do before agreeing to a driveway easement:

  1. Research the property to be sure of the boundary (see linked article) line so it is clear how much of the driveway needs to be a right of way.
  2. Consult with a realtor to see how much a driveway easement in your area should cost.
  1. Negotiate.  Whether you are asking for or allowing an easement, you should negotiate the way the easement will be used, the people allowed to use it and the fees.


It is important that an easement is legally drafted and it is best to consult an attorney for this. It is also important to have a qualified attorney review any easement in existence before selling or purchasing a property. Easements can often lead to disputes and you want to make sure you do everything you can to avoid disagreements.

Contact Tramontozzi Law Offices at 781.665.0099 and speak to John Tramontozzi.  He can provide you with a free consultation to review your case and advise you on your best course of action.