I bought land but it has no access road! What do I do?

If you bought a landlocked piece of California real estate, that would typically mean that there is land owned by other surrounding your land on all sides, without a self-contained driveway leading to a public road. Your question is an important one because you cannot get to your new land unless you travel over someone else’s property. Without proper permissions, you could find yourself treading in the area of actionable trespass.

Being unable to access your own land is unfair to you and a waste of the natural resource of the land. If that other owner does not allow you to cross over his or her land to get to your new property, what value does your land continue to have?

Court petition when neighbor will not grant access

In this case, you are likely going to want to get an easement by necessity. The same need arose with a Washington couple who owned an interest in 40 acres in California. In that case, one of their neighbors did allow them to cross the land, but required that the couple provide 10 days’ notice and utilize the neighbor’s ranch foreperson as an escort.

The neighbor would not provide them legal access. Their only other recourse was petitioning the court for an easement by necessity.

Easement of necessity

Your situation may be legally similar. This kind of easement would provide you a limited but critical right to use the adjacent land owned by someone else to get to and from your landlocked property. Fortunately, California law recognizes the significance of easements to ensure that property owners are not unfairly restrained when seeking to utilize their land.

In your case, if your neighbor will not provide you an easement graciously, you may petition the court for an easement by necessity. This kind of California easement may be legally possible because it appears that you have absolutely no other alternative to access your land, short of growing wings.

This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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