How to Deal with Issues with Easements and Renters

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“Here is a quick overview: I live in a home with a 20 ft easement driveway from the main road to a semi public lake. Home owners have been granted ingress & egress to the lake. There are 3 houses and 1 duplex on the easement driveway. (The duplex is on the main road; then the first house, second house – our house, and the third and last house is on the lake.) About 20 years ago the owner of our home built and maintained a dock that sits just off the natural water line of the lake and it meets all state codes and is legally there. We bought the home 7 years ago and we have maintained the dock and keep our boat anchor during the summer. However, the dock is not listed in the description of our home, but according to both the previous owner of our home, the lake home owner and the homeowner next to us, the dock has always belonged to and has been maintained by our the owners of our home. Here ar e my questions: Can the owners of the duplex give their tenants the right to use the easement to the shoreline? Can the tenants of the duplex give anyone (i.e., friends, neighbors, relatives, etc.,) the right to use the easement to the shoreline? Do we have the right to prohibit the tenants from the dock even though we have no paperwork showing ownership of the dock?”

[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.]

Yes, probably yes, and I don’t know.

Tenants are in possession of the property, and therefore get all the rights that the owner gets.

Similarly, since the owner could allow guests to use the road, the tenants probably can, too. But check the easement document to be sure.

As for the dock, it’s hard to say. If you’ve got a general agreement that it’s yours, you can probably control it’s use. But dollars to doughnuts when you start refusing access will be the time that someone “remembers” something else about the dock which prevents you from doing so.

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Author: House Attorney

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