Can I legallylimit a public easement “for ingress and egress” to one allowing only emergency/government/utilities functions?

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2011

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Can I legallylimit a public easement “for ingress and egress” to one allowing only emergency/government/utilities functions?

The driveway to my property historically provided access to a house behind. That house was replaced by a townhouse complex with entrance on the next street over. The easement currently serves only an alternate exit from the townhouse for residents. There is no essential need for resident/public use of the easement, and it has become a path for drug users. I would like to limit access to that for necessary community purposes.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there is a recorded easement on your property where your property has the burden of the easement the only way you can limit or even eliminate the easement is by blocking access as a form of a prescriptive easement to end it. The time period to accomplish this is five years. The blockage must be open, notorious, under claim of right and to the exclusion of others.

You need to be aware that you cannot obtain an easement against a public entity (township). Nor can you end an easement by way of a prescriptive use over the easement burdening your property against a public entity.

I suggest that you consult further with a real estate attorney about your easement issue.

Good luck.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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