Property lines are simply the lines that show the boundary of your property versus where the property of your neighbor is. The land survey that was done when the property was first built, and that you can have done at any time, will indicate exactly where the limits of your property are. However, just because you want to build a driveway on your property does not mean you can go right up against the line.
Every district will be different on where you can place any building or driveway from your property line. Most frown on building anything right against the line, even though that is technically part of your own property.
You should always check with your local regulations before you start to build a driveway. While you may not be able to get right up close to the property line without permission from your neighbor, you may be able to get closer than you think.
How Close Can I Build a Driveway to My Property Line?
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to determining how close you can build a new driveway to your property line. These factors include:
- Location of the driveway
- What it is you want to build
- Checking local building codes (setbacks)
Checking the local building codes with your government can be important. In many areas, although not all, there are legal setback requirements you will need to follow when building your driveway.
For most localities, the side setback will be a minimum of five feet on all sides. In some areas, you are allowed to build the driveway right on your property line. Verify that this is allowed in your area before you begin and double check your property lines to make sure you do not go over and run into that mess later.
Driveways Can Have Less Restrictions Than Structures
Driveways are often given a little more leeway than other options. For example, if you are building a new garage or a shed on your property, the setback is often larger. This means you will not be allowed to place the new structure right on the property line and usually need to leave a little space. A driveway and a fence are two exceptions usually given to this.
What if My Neighbor Built a Driveway on My Property?
If you have a neighbor who has a driveway on your property, this has turned into an encroachment. This basically means that the neighbors driveway is not on and over the property line. When they are on it, they could potentially cross over to your area. his can become a problem for you if you build your driveway too close to the property line and do not verify these lines ahead of time.
Now, there are some neighbors who will not mind the encroachment or having someone drive on their property. If it is just slightly over, they may decide that it is not worth a fight and just let it go. However, you should not plan on this when building your driveway. Either talk with your neighbor ahead of time to see what they think about your driveway plans or move it over just a bit to ensure it stays on your property. An encroachment can quickly become a big dispute and if your driveway is over the property line, you are the one who will lose.
Doing a Professional Land Survey
If there are any issues with encroachment, or if you want to avoid any of these issues in the first place, then a land survey, one that is completed by a professional, can be a good idea. You can have them mark out exactly where your property line is. This will help you make plans when you try to figure out where to put your driveway.
Check the Rules in Your Area
Before you get started with your driveway, you should consider contacting any zoning boards in your area. Most will not have any setbacks when it comes to driveways, though they may have these for other structures like fences and sheds and other additions to the home. It never hurts to check into this first.
If you are doing the driveway on your own, you need to know the rules before you make any plans. This can save you a lot of disappointment and heartache later on if you do it wrong. If you do work with a professional to do the driveway, it will be their responsibility to look up the zoning rules in your area and get the driveway built in the right place.
Consider how inconvenient the placing of your new driveway will be as well. Just because you can build it right up to the property line does not mean it won’t inconvenience someone or be in the way. And if you are building near an area that is used by emergency vehicles or you live near someplace like a hospital, then the rules may be slightly different.
There are a lot of things that go into planning your new driveway. While most municipalities will not have a setback rule for a driveway, you do need to make sure you place it on your property line and not over. Having a land survey done ahead of time and working with a reputable contractor can make this easier and can prevent some headaches with the driveway later on.