No easement on record to garage, fix it up or not?

6 Replies

Hey all,

Not sure if this is the correct forum to ask, but hopefully someone or many will see and be able to advise.

I own a rental half double that includes a huge 2 story detached garage. There is a tiny alley from the street to the garage (and the side of the house behind mine). It ends at my garage, heading to the grass behind the house 2 houses down. According to tax records, the alley is owned by the house 2 houses down, I’m not even sure he realizes he owns it, bought in 1979. I rent out the upper 2.5 car garage, I use the lower level. Garage is solid but rough looking, needs siding desperately but I’m leery about putting $ into it as one day this guy could block off the alley which renders the garage basically useless.

What do I do to protect my investment and my garage? Is the access grandfathered?

How long has the access been used? So basically how long ago was the garage constructed? Is the entire garage on your property? Do you have any relationship with that owner? Easiest route is to just ask him for an easement. Explain that you likely have access as a matter of law, but you want to make this easy and amicable. 

@Jessica Zolotorofe

I’ve owned this property 3 years, yes the garage is all on my property, was a bank owned property so I got no info. Garage is old! I’m sure the alley has always been used, I’m not so worried about this guy, but he’s owned here since 1979, I’m sure he’s not young. My worry is the next owner..

I guess I could approach him, I’m worried about opening a can of worms

If he's a jerk he could try to extort some money out of you, but it may be worth a shot since the alternative is going to court and that will undoubtedly cost you more. 

@Jessica Zolotorofe

Thanks Jessica! I actually just met him 5 mins ago. He recently had a stroke and doesn't have all his wits about him, but without prompt he mentioned he owns the right of way. I asked about an easement to my garage and he didn't know. My title company is having their searcher take a look. Thanks much for your input and knowledge!

@Jessica Zolotorofe

Thanks for the advice! I met the older couple that owns the right of way. Super nice. They signed a document saying they would grant me the easement, so now i have an attorney working on it. Piece of cake!