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Hi,

When a deed shows a “right to travel” is that different from a right of way? If so, what is the difference? Thanks!

Thanks all - sounds like it is just a weird way to show a right of way, with basically the same regulations. I appreciate the experts weighing in!

@mariano21comcast-net

I think a right of way can be for many stated purposes. I suspect the right to travel is just defining the type of right of way in the deed. It would be easier to interpret if it could be seen in the context of the other language. A real estate attorney from your state is the best source for your answer.

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12 Answers
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Doing a Google search produces all sorts of information that has nothing to do with your question.  Hope someone else can help you.  I have not come across that term in several decades of surveying.

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Nor have I ever seen the term "right to travel" in any conveyance.  I'm sure the devil is in the details of the specific deed.  Generically if the term is used in conjunction with a specific path or possibly width I would assume the "right to travel" implied rights to ingress and egress across a described area.  But you know what they say about assuming...

That's a new one on me for sure.

“Education, I fear, is learning to see one thing by going blind to another.”
- Aldo Leopold

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In Massachusetts, per Supreme Court ruling, a right of way encompasses the same bundle of rights that the public has in a public way - the right to pass and repass, the right to park, the right to install utilities, the right to install drainage. A "right to travel" sounds to me like the "right to pass and repass" only over the easement.

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It means the parcel is subject to an historical traveled way.  Maybe. If so, a public easement.  That language I think has been used in the NE and Midwest, in statute and case law. It's not a prescriptive road, but a similar, weird thing. Of course I could tell you exactly, but you would have to retain my services for that Shutmouth  

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There are many parcels of land that have access from state and rural roads of record and that are being maintained by state county or federal funds and it is the property owners only and fully legal means to get to their property.

In many places these roads and access routes have been in use for generations if not a part of some wagon trail hundreds of years that also continued to other properties down the way.

One thing common about them is that they were and are public accessed and they are not under the lawful maintained road system.

The part about not being part of the public maintained budget means that they are not truly accepted as legally described access.

The problem arises when that property owner wants to sell their home and property and they can not do so because the road there is not on record as being legal in the minds of title companies because they do not accept "the use a road" as legal binding personal property they can sell.

Getting an easement along that path can go one of two ways, the landowner does not object or the landowner totally objects and says noway.

Local courts are fickle on the subject and in most instances, it takes time and a lot of money to get to the State Supreme Court that mostly will rule that the path is the truely legal access road to the property and the landowner has to sign an easement to bind the situation.

So, simply, the right to travel is the present owners and their descendants' rightful access to the property and a right of way is a legally purchased, granted and recorded access to travel for everyone.

 

RPLS NE Texas
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough - Mae West
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Posted by: @a-harris

So, simply, the right to travel is the present owners and their descendants' rightful access to the property and a right of way is a legally purchased, granted and recorded access to travel for everyone.

That would be specific to Texas and perhaps different for the OP in New York.

I don't think all states define a ROW as needing to be purchased.  For instance, it is my understanding that most of the rural roads in Iowa were defined as easements leaving the underlying fee ownership with the adjacent land, and only major roads are on land purchased for the purpose.

And I suspect "descendants" should read "successors in ownership" unless the term descendants has an unusual definition in Texas real estate law.

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The grantor must persue any claims of ownership or claims of title in order to grant those rights to any grantee.

RPLS NE Texas
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough - Mae West
d[-_-]b

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Closest I've seen would be language for a stock trail, it said "right to cross". Most stock trails also come with the right to "bed down" the herd, usually moving the herd can take more than a day. 

A "right to travel" may be from some old crossing right like a stock trail. Of course modern rights of ways come with the need to install and maintain the structures for a roadway, but for stock it's a need to move across the land, not to build on it or shape it.  

This post was modified 3 days ago by MightyMoe
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It would be helpful to know which State this is in.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55

@dave-karoly

The OP profile says Massachusetts.
In a previous post I erroneously referred to NY due to seeing NY time zone.

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By no means exhaustive, my search on Google Scholar turns up one case in Mass which involves a portion of an old 18th century public road since abandoned.  The road was in disuse and overgrown but the defendant used it to access their property by contractors and to install a utility service pole.  The court ruled they had no right to do that on the abandoned road then reviews the familiar methods to acquire easements, none of which apply. The term may come up in older cases only available through a subscription service or trip to the law library.

Another case in NJ relates it to a Federal right to travel with respect to property taxes (State statute grants a tax abatement to those over 70 in their home more than 10 years).  Court ruled the 10 year requirement does not violate the Federal right to travel.  In other words, nothing to do with easements.

It would be helpful to at least see the Deed for context but that is never forthcoming in these things so there you have it.  All of that and a nickel will buy you a cup of coffee brewed at home.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55

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Here ya go, everything you never wanted to know about "right to travel" in MA.  Simple answer is as Peter stated above.  But lots of different paths it could take from there to final destination.

Note: material is copyrighted, and lots of nuances to your question. If you have an issue you should contact the law firm that authored this doc.

This post was modified 3 days ago by Duane Frymire

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Posted by: @duane-frymire

Here ya go, everything you never wanted to know about "right to travel" in MA

BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK.

Wife to Husband: go have the "talk" with Johnny.

Husband: but but you don't mean about "Easements", I don't know how to do it.

Wife: dammit just get in there and do it!

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55

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