Wednesday, April 25, 2012

hey the neighbor is digging up my yard!

Hi Diane,
I ran across your blogspot while trying to research about my title insurance problem.
I bought my house in Sept 2009 my neigbor bought his house Apr 2010.  When I purchased my house I was told and assumed we had a common driveway, because the begining of the driveway is completly on my neigbors property.  A portion of the driveway in front of the neigbors house is on my property.  There have been multiple surveys with no major disagreement other than an inch or two.  It doesn't look like there is an easement for either of us to use each others property.   The neighbor has been verbally abusive and taking pictures of us working in our yard.  He even dug up a portion of our yard in front of his house (adverse posession) ?  A week or so ago, he sent a letter via an attorney for us to stop trespassing on his property (the beginning of the driveway giving us access to garage and house).  Now to my question.  Should the title company have caught this?  Can the title company say we negotiated an easement for you, take it or leave it?  At this point, I do not want an easment, I would rather have my own driveway because my stress level will only continue due to the neighbor.  Will the title company ask what I want or my opinion?

Hi, R:  

First and without delay, open a claim with your title insurance company.  Go directly to the company on your policy and not to the agent who did your closing.  They may or may not cover access to your driveway but it doesn't cost anything to get a response.  Every state is a bit different in how they handle matters such as property line disputes.  In PA it would likely not be covered but I understand that many other states include this type of coverage for owners and so the second part of your claim is the section of your land that the neighbor is trying to use.  They may help you here.

When you look at your title insurance policy, look at the legal description of the property.  If it included a clause that says "together with" and then talks about your driveway, there is a good chance that they have insured your use of the driveway.

You should also review Schedule B as this will show exceptions to your coverage.

I would not expect them to do anything about changing the driveway to one solely on your lot.   

If title insurance does not cover the matter, then you'll need to hire an attorney to sort things out with your neighbor.

I guess the bottom line is that your best bet for help will be a property line dispute and unless you see the "together with" clause, you are unlikely to get help with the driveway.

Hope this helps.  Good luck!


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