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How does someone gain access to a property that’s landlocked?

6/4/2015 | Real Estate Blog

We’ve all seen those signs that say “No Trespassing.” In many areas across the nation, these signs are put up by landowners who don’t look to favorably on violators who trespass on their property. In some cases, even mistakenly placing a foot on someone else’s property can spark disputes that may end in litigation.

As many of our Pennsylvania readers can imagine though, property lines don’t always end up where you’d like them to be sometimes. In a few cases, a parcel of land may become landlocked or surrounded by other parcels of property. In a situation such as this, a property owner would need to technically trespass on another person’s property in order to get to their own. For those who would rather avoid a legal dispute, a situation such as this might seem more than just problematic.

There is a remedy though for this potentially problematic situation. The answer is an easement. What is an easement, you may ask? Here in Pennsylvania, as well as across the nation, an easement is a legal right given by a property owner to another party that stipulates a non-possessory use of the property owner’s land. Here in Philly, an easement could be as simple as a shared driveway that allows two property owners access to their own homes.

Even though easements are designed to mitigate disputes between landlocked property owners and those around them, disagreements do crop up from time to time. As is the case with many real estate cases though, land use disputes are notoriously challenging because of the complexity of the law and the pushback often given by both parties. Because most people only have a broad understanding of the law and might not have the patience to handle the situation, hiring a lawyer is encouraged when faced with a potentially litigious land use dispute.

Source:, “Landlocked Property,” Third Edition (2006), Accessed June 3, 2015