Accessing Adjoining Property - RPAPL 881
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU NEED TO ACCESS YOUR NEIGHBOR'S PROPERTY IN ORDER TO REPAIR OR IMPROVE YOUR OWN PROPERTY?
Often a landowner or lessee wants to make improvements, modifications or repairs to their property (including buildings, houses, etc.) and the real property is situated in such a way that the repairs or improvements cannot be made by the lessee or owner without entering the premises of an adjoining owner or that owner's lessee. Many times a simple agreement is reached between the two parties and entry is granted. On occasion, however, the neighbor whose property needs to be entered refuses to grant permission for such entry. When entry and access is refused, the lessee or owner wishing to make such repairs or improvements may commence a special proceeding pursuant to RPAPL§ 881 for a license to enter. If any petitions or affidavits exist, they must state facts which show that entry is necessary and the date(s) on which entry is sought. The license must be granted by the court in an appropriate case upon such terms as justice requires, but only when necessary, under reasonable conditions, and where inconvenience to the adjacent property owner is relatively slight compared to the hardship of the neighbor if the license is refused. The statute further provides that the licensee is liable to the this owner's lessee or adjoining owner for the actual damages that occur from the entry taking place.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR NEIGHBOR SEEKS TO ENTER YOUR PROPERTY IN ORDER TO REPAIR OR IMPROVE HIS OR HER OWN PROPERTY?
These situations are fact specific and therefore, there is no set answer. Obviously, a lot would depend on your relationship with your neighbor. Many times, resort to court intervention is not required as most, but not all, neighbors agree on an amicable solution. However, no matter how friendly your relationship with your neighbor is, you must insist on a written agreement wherein your neighbor agrees to reimburse you for damages of any kind including, but not limited to, worker injuries, pedestrian injuries, property damage, etc. Furthermore, you neighbor must agree to pay any legal fees you might incur in the event something does go wrong. This agreement should be drafted by an attorney. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.