When someone owns a house that is an abutting property, it means that the property is sharing a boundary with the property next to it. One misconception is that two abutting properties are adjoining properties when, in fact, they are closer in terms of proximity. When someone says a house is abutting, it means it’s directly neighboring; that is, it’s not adjacent to another property. The owners of the two properties are abutters, and next, we'll be talking about abutters' rights.
So, abutter’s rights are the rights that an existing property owner has when a real estate developer or a different owner builds or expands an abutting property, or even when an existing abutting property landowner decides to make renovations in his property. In both cases, they’d be infringing abutter’s rights if they make alterations that can affect the abutting property, for instance, if they completely block the view from the adjoining property.
Among the abutter’s rights is the visibility at a distance by others – that is; its occupants should be able to see the outside street – the visual right of seeing light and feeling air (one wall can’t be “glued” to the neighbor’s wall), and many more.
Homeowner Sam lives in a house with nothing on its left side but 200 feet of grass that lead to a big pond. Developer Reed buys that space and wants to develop a few commercial establishments on it. It’s Sam’s abutter’s right to be notified of the proposal and be invited (along with other possible abutting properties) by Reed to a public hearing where the development plans will be fully discussed so Sam and others aren’t a part of any substantial changes that might incur because of this new development.
Homeowner Sam lives in a house that is next to a stretch of land that was recently bought by a real estate developer who intends to build a highway. The developer can infringe the abutter's rights if they do not notify Sam of the proposed development and if they do not make it possible for Sam to dispute the decision in a public hearing. It is also an abutter’s right in this scenario to have access to the highway if there are no limitations imposed like the size of the car, delivery limitations, time-based limitations, etc.
Real Estate Tip:
Have someone who knows abutter’s rights inside out and will fight for *your* rights! Find a real estate agent and make your life easier!