I own property in Snohomish County, Washington, United States (MY PROPERTY) that requires use of a driveway on a neighbor's property (NEIGHBORING PROPERTY) for access. The owner of NEIGHBORING PROPERTY passed away a couple months before I took possession of MY PROPERTY, and there is no documented easement. The previous owner had a reverse mortgage and the loan is owned by HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development). The family has opted to release the deed to NEIGHBORING PROPERTY in lieu of foreclosure.

According to the county, NEIGHBORING PROPERTY is still owned by the deceased. Does the family have the legal right to sign an easement, or will I have to wait until someone purchases NEIGHBORING PROPERTY from HUD?

2 Answers 2


If the property has been transferred to HUD in a reverse mortgage foreclosure, the family has no authority to sign anything and the country records are simply not up to date (it is not unusual for county real estate records to be one to six weeks behind being up to date based upon how busy the recording office is and how many staff they have, often they are further behind in the summer and around Christmas when employees tend to take vacations). HUD can sign the easement, and so can any successor owner. Whether they will or not is another question.

Even if the foreclosure were not quite complete, any action taken by the family after the foreclosure was commenced would be invalidated once the foreclosure was completed.

  • @Nij Typo fiixed.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 31, 2018 at 19:29

I'm not a lawyer, but I would suggest contacting a lawyer or your local records office. In most states a property is required to have an easement, highway, or street access in order to be legally sold. If not its considered landlocked and is not allowed to be sold. This is one of them things that is highly stressed in deed searches and surveys. I would contact the local Assessors office to see if an easement has been recorded for your neighbors home or yours. I have an Uncle that gave an easement to one of his neighbors, Since then the land behind him was section off and several other homes now share the same easement. Its possible that your Late neighbors drive way was an easement an it just never got recorded on your deed, But is on record.

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