A shared driveway is often found in rural communities and neighborhoods where multiple people use the same driveway. Depending on your city or state, you may also share a driveway if you live within city limits. The laws relating to your shared driveway vary, but most laws focus on the details defined and listed within your deed and your neighbor's deed.
Shared Driveway Definition
A shared driveway occurs when two or more property owners have access to the same driveway. It may consist of one long driveway that curves and wraps in different directions, ending at multiple houses or properties. Strip malls, office parks and shopping centers use shared driveways to give customers access to all businesses or shops quickly.
Shared driveways fall into one of three categories: strata title, joint ownership or crosslease. A crosslease title refers to a shared driveway, which is viewed as a common area. The various property owners agree to equally share ownership of the driveway. Owners agree to use the driveway as intended, for either walking or driving and no owner can leave their vehicle in the common or shared spaces. A strata title, also known as a Body Corporate, defines one specific part of the driveway as a common area and the same rules as a crosslease apply. The only difference is that each owner pays a fee to the Body Corporate for maintenance and upkeep of the driveway. In a joint scenario situation, both owners are responsible for maintaining and repairing the driveway in equal amounts.
If you own a home, or plan on purchasing one with a shared driveway, then read the property deed carefully and look for any information on the area. The deed should define the type of relationship, or category that the driveway falls under and your responsibility, in terms of maintenance. The deed also explains how far the driveway runs and any parts of the driveway that are solely on your property, which makes those areas your responsibility.
Any changes you make to the communal areas must be approved by the other owners. For example, if you share a driveway with three other property owners and make changes with the approval of only one, then the other owner has the legal right to file suit. The owner can demand that you remove the alterations, at your own cost. You also cannot touch any areas of the driveway on property owned by another.