silverback2001 (silverback2001) wrote in damnportlanders,

Legal advice- Shared driveway easement violation in Vancouver WA

Hey DP, long time no see!

I live in Vancouver these days, and recently moved into a house that shares a driveway with the next door neighbors.
They claim they own the driveway, and that we can't drive on it, and that even attempted "upkeep" is "malicious intent"

The old lady living there is a crazy hoarder, and called the police on us because she thinks one of us trimmed a tree branch that was originally blocking a portion of the driveway. The portion that her spare car, which never parked on. She called the vanished tree limb a case of "malicious intent" and then she called the police, and tried to convince him that she was owed 20k because we might have cut a tree limb. I didn't do it personally, and I didn't see it happen, so I don't really have much to say about it....

We are aware that the land has an easement agreement. They are claiming it doesn't exist. Further digging into public records shows that they have a lein against their house for at least the value of the house due to ignoring code enforcement for the landfill on their property, as well as public health violations for garbage which is attracting rats and other vermin.

The person in question is the daughter of the former owner who is deceased. She is apparently extremely mentally unstable, the other neighbors are afraid of her, and she has a history of wandering into houses that don't belong to her, and acting like she belongs there. There is also suspicions that she may have stolen a pet off of our property, as we've heard a bird from their house, and the Cockatoo is missing.

We have an RV on the property that they are refusing to allow us to move in and out of our backyard, by blocking the driveway, claiming that its under their ownership, and that we have no right even setting foot on "their property" which, according to them, includes the jointly owned driveway. We have politely asked to at least have them move their car once a week, and they adamantly refused, saying that twice a year was too much.

The cars on their property appear to be another symptom of the hoarding, and I also suspect the "possessiveness" of the driveway is another aspect of this.

We've since gotten a notarized copy of the easement agreement, as well as a copy for their reference. If they refuse to accept the documentation as a legally binding agreement between our properties, what can we do? At this point they're harassing us for even walking on our own driveway, and using our own gate into our backyard.

Would we be within our rights to have the car towed, as blocking of the easement isn't allowed per the contract between our properties? We would only do this if they refused to acknowledge the easement documents as legally binding.

We've tried to be polite, we've tried to talk to them repeatedly, but all they do is claim that we're trespassing, and threaten to call the police on us for "malicious intent"

What are our actual options for dealing with this situation? Is towing the car that is blocking the driveway something we have the legal right to do? It's a shared driveway, but they don't seem to care, and feel like they're above the law :/ and that we're somehow the criminals...

I wish I could make this shit up ._. help?


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