Right-of-Way Issues and Caltrans Requests

Ever wonder who owns that land along the freeway located beside your property? Typically, it’s referred to as the “right-of-way” and it’s owned by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

What is a Right-of-Way?

A right-of-way is defined as an easement granted or reserved over the land for transportation purposes, this can include highways, public footpaths, railways, canals, as well as oil pipelines, transmission lines and electrical transmission lines.

Right-of-Way Issues for Property Owners

Often rights-of-way exist alongside private properties belonging to businesses and civilians. What happens if you’re having challenges such as homeless people occupying the right-of-way next to your property, people trespassing on your property, breaching your fence, or climbing your roof?

Homelessness in Right-of-Way Areas

Homeless people may seek shelter and refuge in the rights-of-way along private property. Homeless encampments can raise a number of concerns such as:

  • Safety; including that of motorists, users of Caltrans facilities, state agency personnel, property owners, and homeless individuals themselves.
  • Damage to land, landscaping and public structures.
  • Unsanitary conditions and debris; including an accumulation of hazardous waste that is costly to remove.
  • Disruption of the intended use for which the site was originally developed.
  • Trespassing and theft of supplies and equipment.
  • If you observe a crime occurring in a right-of-way, be sure to call the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or 911 immediately.

    Rights-of-Way and Trespassing

    Trespassing is the interference with another’s possession of property, including the invasion of another’s property. Trespassing can occur when anyone crosses, knowing or unknowingly, from the right-of-way area over to your property. Continually breaching a fence or climbing onto a roof can cause damage to these fixtures and uninvited people on your property can pose a threat to safety.

    So what can you do if you are a property owner contending with issues of a nearby right-of-way? Where do you turn? Caltrans, of course!

    Submitting Requests to Caltrans

    You can submit an electronic service request to Caltrans; unfortunately, it is no simple task. You have just 500 characters to explain your concern. That’s hardly even a paragraph. We can help. We have experience with Caltrans requests and can help manage the submission process, monitor and follow up.

    Rome was not built in a day. When dealing with Caltrans (or any government agency for that matter), patience, knowing who to talk to and when, repeated follow up, fairness and understanding are key.

    Our Experienced Legal Team Can Help

    At Hamlin | Cody, we have the experience and the temperament to deal with Caltrans and other government agencies to keep you sane and ultimately get results. If you are concerned by an issue occurring in a nearby right-of-way, it is important to get legal guidance to understand and protect your property rights. Come talk to us or hit Reply to schedule a Get Acquainted Call.