Shared Driveways: Common Problems & Your Rights

sarah ryan
Sarah RyanAccount Manager @ Lawhive & Non-Practising Solicitor
Updated on 25th October 2023

Shared driveways can sometimes lead to neighbour disputes that disrupt your day-to-day life. In this article, we’ll cover your rights in relation to shared driveways, common disputes that arise around shared driveways and what you can do to resolve them.


What is a shared driveway?

A shared driveway is either a driveway or pathway that’s partly on one person’s land and partly on their neighbour’s land or land owned by one neighbour that’s outside another neighbour’s house.

For the first kind, both people have the right to use it. For the latter, both neighbour’s should agree on rules to share it.

Why do shared driveways exist?

Shared driveways exist in the UK because in the past lots of houses had garages at the back, so it was necessary to share a driveway with their neighbour to access their garages.

But shared driveways aren’t just a quirk of old properties. Lots of modern housing estates have shared driveways that multiple houses can use. Usually developers favour shared driveways because they save space, and provide more room for more houses.

What does the law say about shared driveways?

The Highways Act 1980, which applies in England and Wales, says that a person shouldn’t obstruct a highway, including a shared driveway. So if a neighbour blocks a shared driveway (by parking on it, for example), they are breaking the law and they could be fined for it.

Therefore, legally owners of a shared driveway have a responsibility to be considerate and not block the driveway.

Who owns a shared driveway?

Shared driveways have different ownership arrangements that may be set out in your home’s deeds.

Often, a driveway is owned by one person but their neighbour has the right to use it to access their property (right of way).

Who is responsible for maintenance of a shared driveway?

Maintenance of a shared driveway is often covered in a property’s deeds. Generally, both neighbour’s will be equally responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a shared driveway.

Can I use a shared driveway to store my bins?

Storing anything on a shared driveway, such as waste or recycling bins, would be classed as obstructing a highway, which is against the law. Therefore, no one has the right to store anything in the area.

Can you park on a shared driveway?

Legally, no. Parking on a shared driveway is technically classed as obstructing a highway, which is against the law.

Sometimes, neighbours will make arrangements between themselves around parking on a shared driveway. However, neither party has a legal right to park on a shared driveway.

Common shared driveway disputes

Often, neighbours will share a driveway harmoniously. But sometimes, even the best of neighbours can find themselves in dispute over a shared driveway.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common disputes that can crop up:

Parking predicaments

This is one of the top contenders for shared driveway disputes. Who parks where, and when? If usage of a shared driveway is not properly defined, this can lead to fall outs which can escalate quickly if left unchecked.

Maintenance mayhem

As we’ve noted, keeping a shared driveway in tip top condition should be a joint effort, but if one person feels the other isn’t pulling their weight when it comes to things like repairing potholes or ensuring the space is kept clean and tidy, things can get messy - pun intended.

Unauthorised additions

Imagine you share a long driveway and your neighbour decides to install a fancy gate that blocks your access. Unauthorised alterations and disagreements over boundaries can and do spark tensions among neighbours with shared driveways.

Noise and nuisance

If your neighbour thinks your shared driveway is the perfect spot for a late night part or DIY project (complete with power tools), that might disrupt your peace and quiet, and nobody wants that.

Blocked access

If a neighbour starts making it a habit of blocking your exit with their car or bins, this can cause a big inconvenience which might put strain on your neighbourly relationship.

Can I buy my neighbour’s part of a shared driveway?

If there are problems with how a shared driveway is being used, it might be possible to stop one person from using it altogether by buying out their claim to the shared driveway.

That being said, a neighbour might not be open to this because giving up their right of access might inconvenience them or even cause their property to lower in value.

Can a shared driveway be separated?

If you want to divide a shared driveway, everyone who uses it has to agree with how that will work. Most importantly, there should be enough space for each property to have its own driveway for at least one car without restricting access for others.

Then, the title deeds should be amended as well as deeds of easements, including changing the boundaries of the property in line with what you’ve each agreed.

It’s a good idea to get advice from a property lawyer before you do any of this, because there might be other factors to think about, including problems that might arise with the agreement further down the line.

How to deal with shared driveway problems

If you find yourself in any of the above situations, there are options available to you:

  1. Know your rights. If you have any express rights to the shared driveway, this will be set out in your title deeds, so that’s a good place to start. Alternatively, you may have prescriptive rights from continuously exercising a right of way over someone’s land for at least twenty years. If it’s not clear what your rights are, it might be wise to seek help from a solicitor who can review the facts and advise on your situation.

  2. Talk to your neighbour. When you understand the facts, it’s probably a good idea to have a chat with your neighbour about the problem. It might be that they don’t realise that their use of the shared driveway is causing an issue for you. Making them aware of the situation might be just what’s needed to put a stop to it.

  3. Try mediation. A trained mediator can act as a referee to help you and your neighbour reach a resolution if talking to them doesn’t work. In mediation, all parties have the opportunity to air their concerns and find a compromise.

  4. Send a solicitor’s letter. Sometimes, a well-worded cease and desist letter from a solicitor can work wonders. If you believe your neighbour is interfering with your rights to the shared driveway, consult with a solicitor who specialises in neighbour disputes of this kind. They can draft a letter outlining your concerns and the legal consequences if the issues persist. This can often bring about a resolution without going to court.

  5. Seek an injunction. An injunction can be sought when someone is violating your rights or causing you harm. In the context of shared driveways, you can seek an injunction to stop your neighbour from taking actions that infringe on your rights, such as blocking your access or making unauthorised changes to the driveway.

If you are tired of the constant headaches and disagreements that come with sharing a driveway, our team of expert solicitors is just a click away, ready to help you solve your neighbour dispute quickly and affordably.

We connect you to experienced lawyers fast, at an affordable and fixed fee. So why wait? Take action now and tell us about your case through our online form.

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