What are my rights regarding a gated community and a change in access?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights regarding a gated community and a change in access?

I bought property in a private community with the intention to build a house there, which I did. I was assured at the time that the secondary gate would always be closed except for emergency exits. Part of the gate was on an adjacent property that is privately owned. The owner of this property had a legal agrement that this gate would never used as an exit except in emergencies. Due to this agreement, I bought the property. After a number of years there, the property adjacent to the private community was sold. After a few years with the new owner, a member of my community asked for the secondary gate to be opened permanently in case of emergency. The new owner of the adjacent property agreed to letting them keep the gate open. I was very distraught with the flow of traffic past my house. Since I am not full-time at the house and was working full-time in another state, I had no time to deal with the issue. Now I want to sell my house but the drawback has been the flow of traffic using the secondary entrance. I am having a difficult time selling my house because of this one issue. Do I have any legal rights to force the community to close this gate and/or to closd the gate with an access code for emergency exit? What should I do? This has lowered the value of my home considerably.

Asked on October 8, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, based on what you write, you most likely do not have any legal rights to enforce this.
1) Any "assurance" you received when you bought the home is not legally enforceable unless it was contained in a written contract. Otherwise, it was a statement of intent at the time, but such intent may be changed later when not embodied in a contract.
2) The contract or agreement with the earlier private property owner would not bind or be enforceable against the second one, since he/she was not a signatory to it; contracts may only be enforced against the parties to them.

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