Louisiana Resident in Sticky Situation Over Easement on Property

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“I am a resident of Louisiana and have purchased a property with easement issues. This property was once part of a larger tract.  The original landowner used the house and an area of land around the house as collateral for a building loan. There was an easement included that went from the road to the house.  After this, the landowner dug a very large pond across the easement.  He built a limestone driveway that went around the pond to get to the house.  This was never stated to be a legal easement.  The landowner ended up losing the house and the immediate land to the bank.  This left him owning a large tract of land surrounding the house.  He then sold this land leaving a landlocked house with an easement that goes through a pond.  The new landowner does not allow use of the driveway that the original owner had constructed to get to the house.  He even went so far as to remove the culvert at the road at that access point so no one could cross.  Is an easement that runs through a body of water a reasonable permanent access point?  He requires use of a boat to get to the house when there is a limestone driveway that goes around the pond to the house.  Would I have a leg to stand on in court if I request that the easement be moved?”

[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.]

What you’ve got is a very complicated position that has a number of possible legal arguments.  Your neighbor may or may not have an “easement by necessity”–this is not exactly what it sounds like, but in a situation like this one, where a single owner creates a “landlocked” property, a court might either assume that an easement was created or create one.  It’s also possible that a prescriptive easement has been created, depending on whether the path around the pond was created with permission, and how long ago.  And the facts are complicated enough that there are probably other legal arguments that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head.

My advice is to get a lawyer, with the intention of coming to a neighborly agreement and simply putting that in writing so it’s clear who has what easements where.  Failing that, the attorney can better advise you what your specific rights are–and, just as importantly, how expensive it will be to enforce them.

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Author: House Attorney

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