How to Deal with Property Owners that don’t Maintain their Road Easement

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“We have given a 60 foot road easement for the purpose of ingress and egress to an adjacent property which is landlocked. The easement is situated on a steep sand hill which washes out easily. This has never been a problem until the most recent owner of said property. Previous owners have maintained the road and did not destroy the 60 foot easement. The current owner had not maintained the road and now are driving from side to side of the 60 feet to avoid the ruts that they have created. We have placed barriers on the side, leaving the previously maintained road clear. The barriers are for erosion control. A lawyer for the neighbor says we cannot do this and that we are the ones who only have ingress and egress rights but this is not what the deeds states. We have been told by one source that we could place gates at each side of the easement as long as we do not lock them without giving the adjacent property owner a key. Do we have the right to do this or do we have to allow these owners to destroy our land.”

[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.]

Generally speaking, use of another person’s land comes with both the right and the obligation to maintain that land. Unless there is some language to the contrary in the easement document, your neighbor is probably obligated to maintain the road, and you can enforce that obligation legally.

I am concerned that an attorney told you that the land belongs to your neighbor and that you have the ingress/egress right. First, because obviously if he is right then the analysis is reversed. Second, if you are also using the road, you may have an obligation to contribute to its maintenance.

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Author: House Attorney

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