A neighbor is wanting an easement for sewer and water access for a lot he
purchased. Due to our topography, his lot does not have access to city
sewer and water service, and my lot is the only way to feasibly get it.
(City won't approve a septic system for him.)
My question: Should I expect to be paid by him for granting an easement? I
know that he would be responsible for the cost of running the pipes,
restoring my yard, etc., but it seems that I should also be entitled to some
additional compensation for the trouble.
The way I figure, he is going to have to trench about 300 feet along my yard
to reach the street and utilities. (I have about a 2 acre lot.)
Thanks for the advice.
Well, Im not a lawyer, but my brother is, and this is the sorta thing we
often discuss over a few beers when we visit with each other.
Generally, the law provides for him to seek an easment under court order,
and lacking other reasonably practical or economical means to get utilities
to his place he will likely eventually win.
And at that point both of you will have probly have spent a great deal of
$$$ on attorney's fees........
My first thought would be to offer to sell him an easment at what you would
consider to be the hassle costs on your end of the deal......
Still, even this would best be done with the services of an attorney, as it
should properly be included in the respective revised property descriptions
So I would suggest you both should work together and come up with a plan,
then split attorney costs 50/50--your share coming outa the kitty he is
willing to pay for said easement.
Dont take my word on this as gospel any more than you would take your dog
groomer or butchers thoughts as being the last word.....
If I wanted quality hvac work, my brother certainly aint the guy I would go
to and pay to have do it...
Or, just go on ahead and let the neighbor do it, this is probly what I would
do.......what the hell.......no good deed ever goes unpunished, no ???
Curious, though - - apparently he *bought* property which would make it
necessary to run lines through others' property in order to build on it.
Legally, how much weight would that self-imposed fait accompli have?
A couple of other thoughts: Because the property could not have the
services required for building a house, he got it at a steal.
Now he gets an easement from a neighbor for those services. This
increases the value of the property considerably.
He can then just sell the property at its now increased value, pocketing
a nice profit, or build a POS basic house on spec and realize a greater
profit. He may never intend to be a neighbor at all.
About the only thing that you should charge him are any costs that
YOU may incur as far as deed revision costs and perhaps a refundable
deposit to be held in escrow until he completes restoration of your
I'd get an attorney. There might be future problems that you can't
anticipate and a legal contract between you and the neighbor might protect
you. What happens if your neighbor moves. Your verbal agreement may not
extend to a new owner. It's easier to CYA now then in the future.
this is a karma issue. unless you have a specific reason NOT to grant the
easement, grant it. dont try and profit. let them pay all fees associated
with the change, INCLUDING the cost of your lawyer. if you dont, i hope
someday it comes back to bite you on the ass and you have an unusable piece
of property without laying 10 miles of pipe.
and as someone else mentioned, if you have a mortgage, the bank will want to
know whats going on.
This depends entirely on things we don't know. Where on the property
will the easement go? Does it in any way diminish the use of the
property, ie would it prevent you from putting up a future garage,
addition, landscaping, trees, etc? Keep in mind that the easement has
to be accessable for future repair/replacement if necessary. That
means the area close to the easement isn't the best place for specimen
The way I look at it, there is a range of possible fair solutions. At
one end, if you know the guy, like him and the impact to your property
is minimal, then I'd do it with him paying all the legal and
associated costs. At the other, if he bought the property cheap
because it has no access, you don't know him, and the impact will
reduce the utility of your land, I'd want him to pay the legal fees
plus compensate me a decent amount.
How does the neighbor get onto his property? How is it zoned? 300'
through your yard? Who maintains or repairs the sewer line if it backs
up and floods your yard? Is he going to build an apartment building?
Where does his lot drain if he builds on it? How large is his property?
If you give him the easement, it likely has value, as it would likely
increase the value of his lot. What next? If you grant the easement,
it precludes you from using that strip, such as for an addition,
structure, etc., I believe. What is with the "topography"? I think I
would want an attorney to look at it.
Generally I would say yes, but I do have a few suggestions - comments.
It may lower your property value slightly. As a buyer, I would rather
buy a lot without an easement for reasons noted below. See if you can get an
You may have some restrictions on future activities. For example you
may not be allowed to plant trees or build (maybe a shed or garage) over
You may have problems in the future if maintenance is needed. This
could be a big problem if a access drive has been added over the easement.
You will be bothered while they do the work and during the time the
All that said, I would say you should grant it and expect some sort of
compensation for the cost to you now and future. You legal rights may
differ from location to location so for an answer to that part, contact a
Been a really long time since sitting in `business law classes that touched
on real property & land easements. just some thoughts... i dunno;
Might just work with him to plumb it with no easement, no legalese.
then you'll have no restrictions & a friendly neighbor
bank shouldn't care as they generally don't finance the land.
When he sells it someday should the buyer desires an official easement -
that's where you might profit if you want to be greedy.
... Problem with any easement is it can result in undesirable future use and
problems... like when it leaks or clogs and needs a hole dug.. or some owner
suddenly putting a driveway right over his easement, a dirt road through
your yard - other neighbor says he can no longer drive across their
property for access to his property because his easement is over there -
court would say `yep, that's the legal right of way. Who cuts and
maintains the grass over his easement ;)
That logic sounds good, but it does not hold up in every jurisdiction.
I once had a 100+ year old home. It had been built in the then back yard of
the home behind me. When built they just ran the sewer under the old home
and connected it to the main.
When a new owner of that house decided to add a garage, the contractor
just broke out my sewer when he put in the foundation. The end result was I
had squatters rights and the owner and his contractor had to foot the bill
for my new sewer line.
It was funny at the time. The contractor came to my door and told me I
could not use any water since it would fill his ditch. He was just going to
cap it off and wanted me to wait until the cement cured before I used any
water. Needless to say I did not agree, neither did the owner who was
rather sorry he had such a fine contractor. The county had no record of my
home let alone the sewer line, so I helped them draw in the new (over 100
year new) property split and where the sewer had gone. As it turned out my
new sewer went out a different direction to a sanitary sewer that was not
even there 100 years ago when they used combined sewers. The work on the
garage stopped after the patched my sewer until the new tap was put in.
He should have thought of that...and probably did...when he bought the
Get an attorney. I wouldn't give him an easement. If I HAD to, I'd
sell him the land. You might as well anyway. You won't be able to do
anything with it in the future. You certainly won't be able to build
or plant over his lines.
Get an attorney.
Do you want the money? Or do you want peace of mind?...and control of
your property? You can't have both.
Unless your property completely surrounds his property, this must be
at least one other free side where he can bring in the lines. Have
him use THAT side.
Have a nice one...
Budweiser: Helping ugly people have sex since 1876!
Not to belabor the points of the other posters too much, but to bring
A lot depends on individual details. Like, where is the trench going to have
to go? Can it be routed just inside your property line etc?
Is it going to interfere with your potential plans?
The "Neighborhood Karma" factor is _really_ important too.
If it were me, I'd ask to see exactly where it'd go, and then consult
with township staff and possibly with a value assessor to see what
your options are, how much it might impact your property value etc.
Ultimately leading to a contract between you and your neighbor
making him pay all costs (construction, legal, whatever), including
future repairs, with the non-performance penalty being disconnection.
Unless it was going to do something drastic to property values,
"Neighborhood Karma" suggests that you only ask for $1 compensation
over and above costs to make the contract binding.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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