Tariwala v. Mack

Facts: To gain access to a parcel, a recorded easement runs across an adjacent parcel. Both parcels were previously owned by the same person.  The parcel benefiting from the driveway easement was mortgaged by the common owner. The lender foreclosed and a buyer acquired the parcel from the lender.  The prior common owner, now owning only the adjacent parcel with title subject to the recorded easement, obstructs access to the buyer’s parcel. The buyer demands the owner of the adjacent parcel remove the obstructions as the driveway is the only way the buyer can access the parcel. The owner refuses.

Claim: The buyer claims the adjacent parcel owner needs to remove the obstructions since the recorded driveway easement is valid and is the only way the buyer can access the parcel.

Counterclaim: The adjacent parcel owner claims the driveway easement was extinguished by unity of title due to prior common ownership since both parcels were previously owned by the same person.

Holding: A California appeals court holds the buyer of the parcel to which the easement provided access is entitled to the removal of obstructions since the common owner mortgaged one parcel and not both parcels which prevented a unity of title required to extinguish the driveway easement and the buyer cannot access the parcel without it. [Tariwala v. Mack (2022) CA5th 807]

Read Tariwala v. Mack here.

Related Video: Extinguishing an Easement

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Related reading:

Legal Aspects of Real Estate

Chapter 13: Easements: running or personal