Ettinger v. Oyster Bay II Cmty. Property Owners’ Ass’n (P)

The circuit court erred in ruling that a parcel of land extended only to the edge of a road, rather than to its center, when the deed describes the property as being bounded by that road and further includes the property’s square footage as well as a reference to the subdivision plat.

This case arose after the defendant erected a construction fence and “no trespassing” sign along the boundary road preventing access to the plaintiff’s parcel. An established rule in Virginia is that a conveyance of land bounded by or along a way carries title to the center of the way, unless a contrary intent is shown. In light of the rule’s twin goals of limiting unnecessary litigation and protecting a grantee’s right of access, the defendant’s decision to erect the fence is precisely the sort of act the rule is designed to prevent.

When a deed describes a lot by reference to a survey plat depicting a street as a boundary, the deed conveys title to the center of that street. A mere reference to the plat does not constitute evidence of contrary intent.

Reversed and final judgment.

Ettinger v. Oyster Bay II Cmty. Property Owners’ Ass’n (P), No. 171542, October 18, 2018. SCV (Mims) from Accomack (Lewis).

Categories: Opinions, Published, Supreme Court of Virginia


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