My neighbour blocked a private road on their property and now I am unable to access my own property, what do I do?

To determine your next course of action you need to understand the leading legislation behind this concept being the Road Access Act which was enacted in Ontario in 1978 with the premise to settle disputes related to access roads. This act may prevent a landowner from closing a road or part of a road that provides another landowner sole access to their property without leave from the Court. 

This legislation may be relevant in a situation where you own a property on a private road, an important aspect in this situation is that this road is the only way you can access your property. Now if your neighbour who is a landowner that owns property on this private road decides to close or block the road preventing you from getting to your property, the Road Access Act may come into play. Generally speaking, a landowner is not allowed to close or block a private road that prevents another landowner from accessing their property. But a landowner that wishes to close a private road may apply to the Court and obtain the Court’s approval to close the road.

There are exceptions to this rule, such as if you gave this landowner written permission to close the road or if the road closure is temporary in nature for the purpose of maintaining the road. Or, in the alternative, if the closure is made for a single period of no more than twenty-four hours within a year to prevent a prescriptive easement. In these instances, your neighbour may be entitled to close the road and prevent you from using it.

If your neighbour prevents you from using the private road or has commenced a lawsuit against you for trespassing. You may need to defend this by demonstrating that the private road is not a highway owned by the municipality or publicly used and that the private road is used by motor vehicles to provide access to one or more properties in accordance with the Road Access Act.

The takeaway to this is that your neighbour may not be entitled to deny you access to or obstruct a private road on their property if the road is the only access you have to your property. There are always exceptions to the rules based on your specific situation some of which are mentioned above. To determine if this legislation applies to your situation we recommend speaking to a lawyer.

More information? We’re here to help – [email protected] This WARDS LAWYERS PC publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your particular circumstances.

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