I want to own this alley
UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.
We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Get Legal Help Today
Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
I want to own this alley
The alley that has never been used they call a paper alley is between my business and the business next to me. It has been fenced and gated 35 years that I know of. I have maintained it the whole time I’ve been here and the city has forced me to clean it like it was mine before they told me it was not mine. There is a driveway to my gate that if I park there is get tickets or impounded for blocking a alley. What can I do?
Asked on February 6, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Iowa
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
It's a public thoroughfare (i.e. owned by a government entity, such as the city/town), you can't get ownership of it: there is no mechanism for securing ownership of public land, road, alleys, etc. unless the city, etc. chooses to sell it to you.
If it is private land, in *theory* you could get the alley from the current owner after 5 years by adverse possession, but in practice the adverse possession rules will not work for a thoroughfare like an alleyway: that is because under adverse possession, you have to "exclusively" possess the land, but you cannot exclusive possess--i.e. bar other people from--an alley if you get ticketed for even blocking access to it; that is, you clearly cannot bar others from access. The possession must also be "open and notorious," which means it has to be obvous that you are claiming it as your own land and not letting others have access, which means there is no "quiet" way to do this. So in practice, you will not be able to get this alley even if it is private.
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 AttorneyPages.com 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.