Does an HOA have the Right to Build on an Easement When the Majority of the Owners do not Agree with the Decision?

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“Does a Condo Association have the legal right to build a sidewalk on a walk-way easement? An easement for Egress to a Public Trail was approved by our township in our Condo Association. The association is comprise of 49 homes, each on about an acre of land. An easement was approved by the township to allow residents access to a public walking trail, this easement was defined as a 20ft area between two adjoining lots. Some residents would like to build a sidewalk on this easement. Does a Condo Association have the right to make such improvements; even if the owners of the lots do not agree with this (assuming it properly approved by a majority of residents)?”

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a definite answer for you. For the purposes of this sort of question, an easement is a contract and is subject to the normal rules of contract interpretation. While the language of the easement document is controlling, you would have to review your local legal history regarding how the phrase “walk-way” is interpreted (that is, does it include the right to pave).

Ultimately, the question in theory is what was in the mind of the people who drafted and signed the easement document. However, in practice, the language of the document will usually control.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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