Do I Have the Right to Remove a Neighbor’s Water Line from My Property?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“I live in a small town that used to have a one man water works. Years ago, the city put a water line to a neighbor’s property, inside my property while we were away.  Since then, it occasionally develops leaks which they have to come on my property to fix, and they leave ruts that they do not smooth over. They were never given permission to put the line there. Do I have a right to have them remove it from my property? I live in Texas.”

Possibly.  As a general matter, putting something like a water line under someone else’s property without permission is a trespass, and possibly a nuisance.  You’ll want to be sure, of course, that the property line is where you think it is; you would be surprised how often the fence or other marker isn’t in the place where the actual property line is.  A survey by a licensed surveyor would be the way to be certain.

However, because it was a municipal agency that did this, there may be special rules that allow this sort of trespass.  Unfortunately, those sorts of rules vary so much from place to place that I could not even guess whether one is applicable to your situation.  You would need to check, or have your attorney check, the applicable local laws and ordinances.  As a first pass, you could simply ask the water company itself; they might actually give you the correct answer, but if they say they’re allowed to do it, you might want to double check.