Row homes in Washington DC and Maryland are actually quite popular. Most of them have a driveway that runs along the back of the houses. There may be garages or just a space to park your car. But do you own it?
A recent article peaked my interest about this subject. A family at the end of a row house complex purchased the property and the previous owner had blocked off the space at the end, where an extra driveway or parking space would be so no one would park junky cars there. But the new owners wanted to tear it up and put down sod to make a nice yard. They were wondering if they had an authority to do that.
The best thing to do is to check the deed to the property. It will tell you exactly where the boundary of your property as but it can be difficult to understand. You may need to talk to property assessor or a boundary survey professional to make sense of exactly what the deed says.
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After further investigation, the homeowner stated that the deed, as well as every other deed on the block, contains the following language:
“together with the free and common use, rights, liberty and privilege of the said driveways as and for passageways and driveways at all times hereafter, forever in common with the owners, tenants and occupiers of the lots of pieces of ground there on”. Now, I know that that probably doesn’t make a lot of sense but what it basically is saying is that all of the owners own the driveway cohesively. It would really be up to all of the owners to decide what happens to that last little bit of the driveway.
Since the driveway has already been blocked off for several years, improving it even more for the good of the neighborhood would probably be appropriate but, this homeowner went to each of the owners in the row houses to confirm the changes.Basically if there is any part of your property used for an easement or if you’re just not sure who can use what and
Basically, if there is any part of your property used for an easement or if you’re just not sure who can use what and where you’ll need to dig up the deed and find specifics of the common area. If necessary, you might need to hire a boundary survey professional to come out and offer legal advice as to where the property ends, begins, and who can use what.