Can a new owner remove a recorded right of way?

I have a piece of property in Maine that can only be accessed by a right of way that is recorded. If a new owner purchases the property with the right of way on it – can they remove my right of way without my knowledge? When I spoke with the person in the county she seemed to think they could. I was under the impression that if it is recorded it can’t be removed-the new person would have to purchase it leaving me the right of way. I am afraid that I could be "land locked" now. HELP!

6 Responses to “Can a new owner remove a recorded right of way?”

  1. atticusfinch219 Says:

    A recorded right of way is a permanent easement which runs with the land. It cannot be extinguished at the whim of the person who buys the property over which the easement runs. Most roads are actually rights of way given many, many years ago. The same is true for lines for gas, water, sewage and electricity. It would wreak havoc in the world if a subsequent owner could extinguish a right of way on their own.

    When the right of way was granted, unless it indicates it is temporary or for a very specific, limited purpose, it is permanent. The owner sold off a piece of property rights to you, or to your predecessor in title. They could have deeded you the land itself, but that requires subdivision of the property. Instead, you were given a permanent right of ingress and egress. The former owner still owns the land, and may make use of it, but may not make any use of it which interferes with the rights you were granted in the right of way.

  2. stinkerbutt2u Says:

    It’s my understanding, that if it’s a recorded right of way, then it can’t be removed unless the new owner purchases it, leaving you the right of way.

  3. Brendan Says:

    I cannot see how this could be done without the authority of a Court at which you would have the right to state your case. But you should contact a lawyer who will put your mind at rest, because the term recorded is a loose term.

  4. jlf Says:

    No, not if there’s a legal easement. A "right-of-way" usually means that a easement exists across the other property for the access use of the owner of your property. That easement is recorded in BOTH deeds and cannot be unilaterally removed by one party.

  5. Landlord Says:

    Whoever you talked to was ignorant and obviously not in any department that deals with this.

    It takes a court order, along with a hearing to remove an easement. It could not happen without you knowing. It also can’t happen at all, no matter what, if you are landlocked.

  6. Mr Placid Says:

    Generally speaking, easements (or rights of way to use your terminology) such as the one you describe run with the property. That is, the benefit/burden of the easement passes to subsequent purchasers. In layman’s language, the new buyer of your property still gets to use the easement; new buyers of your neighbors property still get stuck with the easement.

    Now, I say "generally" speaking because the general rule of easements can always be modified by contractual agreement. So, for instance, let’s say right now, you & your neighbor make an agreement for a right of way easement, but your neighbor only wants YOU to use it, and does not want subsequent owners of your house to use it. So, you & your neighbor record an easement, but specify in the recorded document that the easement terminates when you sell your property. In that case, the new purchasers of your property will NOT have an easement.

    So, the first place to look for your answer is the face of the recorded deed that created the easement.