No doubt that you must have experienced the frustrating event of coming out of your home only to find that your driveway has been blocked by a daring neighbor who didn’t think it was wrong to park and restrict your movement.
Every homeowner in the United States, and even around the world has experienced this at one time or the other, and it constitutes a headache when your movement is being restricted because of someone else’s bad judgment.
We question ourselves as to why people park directly or close to one’s driveway when they know it is absolutely wrong to do so. They know that they would be constituting a nuisance in the form of movement deprivation, and they still go ahead to do so. In this situation, what do you do? How do you keep your neighbors off your driveway?
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How to Keep Neighbors Off Your Driveway
The best way to keep neighbors off your driveway is to:
Relate Your Displeasure to the Neighbor
You need to first inform the neighbor concerned of your displeasure towards him or any of his guests using your driveway.
Your neighbor might have assumed that you are okay with him using your driveway, either because the previous owners of your property didn’t see it as a problem, or it was a normal situation in his previous home.
Either way, be sure to register your displeasure towards him using your driveway.
Obtain a Formal & Certified Letter from the Relevant Authorities
If the condition still persists after informing him that you are not okay with how he and his guests use your driveway, you should obtain a formal, certified letter or document from the relevant authorities that states that he has no right to use your driveway and that deprives him of any rights of way legally.
Ensure he has a copy of this letter so he knows that the authorities have been informed of his trespass.
Put up a Sign, or Erect a Fence
If after informing the authorities and delivering a certified letter to him, the problem still persists, he flagrantly ignores the steps you have taken to stop him from using your driveway, you should put up a sign, or erect a fence if you can that stops him.
Inform your Lawyer and Explore Legal Options
If the sign you have put up is disobeyed, or you can’t possibly get a fence erected, then your last resort should be to inform your lawyer and explore legal options that will force the hands of your neighbor (s). Remember, this should always be the last resort.
These are also how to stop cars from turning on your driveway.
Can Neighbours Use Your Driveway?
If there are no written rights in your property’s title deed that specifically states that neighbors can use your driveway to turn or negotiate bends, then it means they have no right whatsoever to use your driveway.
There are times that title deeds include the right of way, that is, other people, neighbors, and drivers-by alike have the right to use your driveway as they want.
This is why it is important that before buying a house, you should carefully read all the documents attached to the property to know whether there is a clause that you are not okay with within the agreement.
If there isn’t such a right written in your title deed, then the neighbors have no right whatsoever to use your driveway.
Whatever happens with your driveway will be at your own discretion. This means that you can decide to allow neighbors and other drivers to use your driveway as they please, or you can put up a sign that prevents them from parking or turning on your driveway.
However, there are times when even though there are no written rights of way (that is, right for a neighbor to use your driveway) in your title deed or property documents, your neighbor might still have this right of way, having acquired the right one way or another in the past.
Shocked? Don’t be. It is totally within your neighbor’s rights to apply for the right to use your driveway to negotiate bends in and out of their own home.
This can be acquired if your neighbors have enough proof to claim that it is impossible for them to drive out or into their home without using your driveway or at least a part of it.
Therefore, whether your neighbor can use your driveway or not depends on the agreement spelled out in your title deed, and the type of agreement your neighbor has with the property agents.
If after confirming these things, you realize that your neighbors have no right of way to use your driveway for anything, then you can go ahead to put up a sign that states they cannot use your driveway, or even erect a fence that deprives them of having access to your driveway, if the problem persists.
How Do I Make My Driveway Private?
The most effective way to make your driveway private and set it apart from the road and from other driveways is to create separators around or at the sides of your driveway. There are various ways to create separators;
1. Paint Your Driveway
You can paint your driveway in a color clearly different from the road. This way, everyone will know that is not part of the public road or a public driveway.
It separates it from the rest of the road. It is a way of marking your driveway out. Now, the only drivers who would be using your driveway are only those deliberately looking for trouble.
2. Stack up Stones Around your Driveway
People also stack up stones around the driveway as a way of separating the driveway from the road, creating bumps just before the road. If this is not a clear statement shouting, ‘Hey! You’re trespassing!’ I don’t know what is.
3. Build Fences Demarcating your Driveway
A fence is a very clear-cut statement that automatically makes your driveway only accessible to you. Ensure that while erecting a fence, you don’t do it in a way that affects your own navigation. Fences around a driveway keep out other drivers.
4. Raise Garden Beds Around the Area
This is another effective way of making your driveway private. You can plant shrubs and nurture garden beds around your driveway.
Whoever then crosses into your garden to access your driveway will certainly be liable for the destruction of property.
Having a legal driveway should be your utmost priority, therefore, you honestly need to learn how to make your front yard a legal driveway so you can be able to prevent people from using it whether the person is your neighbor or not.
Is Turning Around in Someone’s Driveway Considered Trespassing?
Although this differs from one state to another, the answer is yes. If you are not familiar with the owner of the property and you haven’t asked for permission to use their driveway to turn, then you are encroaching into someone else’s property and assuming they are okay with it.
Especially if they have marked their driveway in some way, then you would be trespassing if you turn around there without prior knowledge or permission given.
It is almost like jumping someone else’s fence on their own property because it is easier to access your destination if you do that.
Is it Legal to Turn Around in Someone’s Driveway?
Well, except if you are destroying a garden bed, or a fence while turning around in someone’s driveway, committing a felony, or going against the law in some way, it is not exactly considered illegal, or criminal to turn around in someone’s driveway.
It certainly can pass for trespassing, but it is not illegal. Also, note that it becomes illegal when the owner of the property has taken legal steps to stop you or the other neighbors from using his driveway and you still go ahead to use it.
Can I Put Spike Stripes in My Driveway?
Of course. Asking this question is like asking whether you can eat food that you cooked. You can do whatever you want with your property.
However, it is advisable that you do not put spike stripes in your driveway as they can harm other people’s tires and even injure unsuspecting individuals.
In as much as you can put anything you want on your driveway, you will bear the consequences if it ends up harming other people, irrespective of whether they use your driveway or not.
If you are a homeowner or a neighbor, understand that people’s driveways are their properties. If you want to use it, you should get permission from them, asking if it is okay to turn around in their driveway.
As a homeowner, you should express your displeasure to a neighbor before taking other legal steps. This way, you get to live in a peaceful environment where there are no trespasses, trespassers, and displeased homeowners.