Good fences make good neighbors?
February 4, 2011 9:28 AM Subscribe
What are my obligations as a neighbor with a shared driveway? I really don't want to be a special snowflake.
posted by mearls to home & garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We moved here about four years ago, to a little place in the woods with a shared driveway. A few months after we moved here, Neighbor A sent a letter, addressed "Dear Neighbor" not having gotten our names, saying that they wanted to pave the driveway and our share would be $8500. We said no, we don't want to do this. If the potholes need filling, we can help fill potholes. Our neighbors went ahead and had the driveway paved. The timing was inconvenient as my wife was seven months pregnant with twins and they hadn't given us any notice. She is still pissed about this. I sent a letter to the neighbors including the other neighbors who share the driveway explaining my reasoning.
Since then, I've been plowing driveway for the last three years. This year, Neighbor B has been doing the bulk of the snow removal with his tractor, since my plow has been useless in more than a foot of snow. The Neighbor A has also been plowing with his business truck. He hasn't done much plowing in years past, since he seemed to be on vacation much of the winter.
Last night, my wife and kids came home and the Neighbor A had widened the plow path - or had workers come and do it. They had also piled the snow up in front of our driveway preventing her from getting in. She left her car there knowing I would be home in fifteen minutes. When I got there, Neighbor A was pissed that my wife was blocking his way into his driveway. I shoveled and one of the workers came up with a snow blower and cleared a path. When I was done, he finally introduced himself.
"You stiffed me on the driveway." and you owe me and Neighbor B for moving all this snow. He had some good points about the importance of cooperation, which I agreed with.
I agree that I owe Neighbor B. This man has worked hard with tractor, and if not for him we would be stuck.
What are my obligations to Neighbor A?
They are really rich, like international business rich. We are not. We are underwater on our mortgage and our financial situation changed for the worse shortly after we moved. Does this matter?
Does our participation in the upkeep of the driveway mean that we have to pay for higher standards than we have? There is, of course, no written agreement on any of this.