How do you establish a right-of-way on someone’s property?

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How do you establish a right-of-way on someone’s property?

My family has been hiking up to a 26 ft waterfall for 80 years, generation after generation. I myself took the hike for the first time 17 years ago. The waterfall falls off of what used to be a buggy trail in the gold country. The property has been private land for 50 years, yet travel has never been a problem until recently. The property was sold and now no trespass signs have appeared. Has my family earned a right-of-way under a common law or did we just loose an age old tradition?

Asked on July 3, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You need to speak with a real estate attorney about how to go about establoshing an easement under California laws and the concept of adverse possession. Generally an action to quiet title is brought.  Is the waterfall on public property or on the private property?  That may matter. Here is a link to get you started.  Good luck.

http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/row/landsurveys/Study_material/California-Adverse-Possession.pdf


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