When a driveway is shared by two neighboring properties, the owners’ legal right to use the driveway is commonly provided through an easement. Overuse or obstruction of the driveway easement may lead the property owners to take legal action, as in an October 28, 2019 Massachusetts real estate case.
The plaintiff in the case had an express right-of-way easement, provided by deed, over ten feet of the defendants’ property. The easement contained a paved driveway, which started at the street and extended the full length of the boundary line between the parties’ properties to the back of their lots. The easement allowed the plaintiff to drive her vehicle from the street and over the driveway to the area behind her house, where her garage and off-street parking area were located.
When the defendants purchased the neighboring property in 2015, they began parking their two vehicles on the front part of the paved easement, bumper to bumper. In addition, contractors and other invitees to the defendants’ house would also park there. The plaintiff filed an action in Land Court, seeking a permanent injunction giving her full, unobstructed use of the entire right-of-way at all times, and prohibiting the defendants and their guests from parking on the driveway.