March 17, 2021

Story of the Day: Man Buys a House and Finds Out He Owns the Entire Alley Too

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A man bought a house and found out that he owned the entire alley next door to the property. What could go wrong?

A man bought a new house and later discovered that he owned the entire alley next door, too, as his garage was entered out onto it. Many of the neighbors used it as a walkway to get to the store. 

He was actually confused about the property plan and his ownership of the alley, so he double-checked with the agent and the courthouse, who all confirmed he owned it. 

A man with a serious expression stares forward. | Photo: Shutterstock


At a neighborhood gathering, he joked with a resident that he would start to charge passersby to walk through the alleyway as it was his. The locals did not take it well. 

Of course, he was actually joking and let everyone use the alley to shorten their routes. However, trouble started when it got to winter, and it started snowing. 


His neighbors demanded that he make sure that the snow was cleared as it was his responsibility because he owned the property. No one considered that it was out of his generosity that they could walk there.

He started paying a friend of his $25 a month to clear the snow each time it snowed. None of his neighbors ever volunteered to help him or his friend out with the big task. 


The problem's peak occurred one winter's day when he or his friend did not have time to clear the snow straight away. A neighbor then threatened to sue him if they fell. 

This did not sit well with the owner of the property. How could someone sue him for falling on his own property that he allowed them to walk through? 


He came up with a plan. The next week, he fenced the alleyway and put up signs that warned the community that it was private property and they would be trespassing. 

The neighbors were furious at him for closing off the alley. Even his own family members told him it was rude of him to take such a serious extreme and close off the alley entirely.

However, the man felt entirely justified. Someone threatened him with a lawsuit, and he made a plan, so the area was not accessible, so someone could not hold him liable. 

Was the man right to close off the alley away? Should residents have helped him with the snow? How could someone want to sue him for walking on his property? For another story, click here