The term characterizes the position of objects relative to each other, and means that they are in direct contact, as in attached or contiguous. In real estate, it refers to properties sharing a border (land), or touching (buildings).
Adjoining owners either own properties that touch along a border, or own properties which touch a third, common property. Shared borders imply shared rights, duties, and liabilities. Each of the adjoining owners is expected to use their property in ways that do not interfere with the rights of the other adjoining owners over their respective properties.
For example, in a multi-tenant commercial property, it would not be reasonable for adjoining businesses to use their respective spaces in a way that unreasonably interferes in one direction or another. If a flex office tenant leases a space next to a medical office tenant and they share a wall, they are leasing adjoining properties. If the new tenant turns out to be using the space for light industry manufacturing, the tenant can be held liable under common law, for noise levels produced, or substances used, if this interferes with the medical office tenant’s activity in safe conditions. Moreover, the property manager or owner can be held liable for not ensuring that adjoining tenants would not interfere with each other’s activities.
With regards to land, it refers to parcels of land that touch along a boundary. Depending on the parcel’s location, an easement may be required from adjoining owners, for right of way.
For example, there are two parcels of land that can be directly accessed by a road and a third parcel of land that stretches along the first two parcels, but has no direct access to and from the road. The owner of the third parcel needs right of way (an easement) from the two adjoining owners. This means that each adjoining owner grants the third-parcel owner rights over a portion of their property, for use as transit. This is a common law compromise, to ensure that the third-parcel owner can access their land without unlawfully trespassing.
With regards to buildings, “adjoining” refers to the construction touching along a wall (attached to each other).
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