How Can I Enforce My Appurtenant Road Easement?

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I am the owner of an ingress/egress appurtenant road easement to a landlocked property behind my property. As I understand it, I am the subservient user, (for all intents and purposes I never use the road,) and the owner of the landlocked property is the dominant user. Due to recent heavy rains the road is almost totally washed out and fast becoming unusable. In fact, the dominant user is finding “casual” ways to try to un-noticeably infringe on grassy areas that I own and a third neighbor owns on either side of the road to avoid the “ruts.” The way I read Texas easement law is that the dominant user is responsible for repairs to the road. I have sent the owner of the landlocked property/dominant user a certified letter telling him he needed to repair the road, and have yet to receive a response. When 30 days are up I will send a second notice asking for their plan. How do I force the issue? Can I put some kind of lien on his house? Can I file suit?

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

It does appear that you are headed down a road that leads to a lawsuit. First, to the extent your neighbor is traveling outside the easement area, he is technically trespassing on your property. And second, as you say, he is failing in his obligation to maintain the road (which is, after all, primarily for his benefit).

Before you get too far down that road, you should consult with a local attorney familiar with these types of issues. The way things work procedurally can differ from place to place, so you want to be sure you’re taking the right steps in your jurisdiction. Hopefully, you will be able to avoid a lawsuit, but you should still prepare as if there will be one.



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Author: House Attorney