My Township is Threatening to Condemn Part of My Property If I Don’t Allow Them Easement, Is This Legal?

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“Our township is putting sewage lines through our development. We have a 10 foot easement on the back end of our land as likewise do the owners of the field in the back. So they do not have to dig deaper down to lay their pipes they want to go across the back portion of our yard some 37 feet to match up with one of our neighbors who they have already talked to about using part of their yard to lay their pipes instead of going up through their easement at the end of their property. They would have to cut down 2 30 trees that are in our yard to do this. They told me at a meeting that if I did not give them the right of this easement through my property that they would condem that part of my yard and use it anyway. Is this legal and can they do this without giving me compensation in some form for the use of this land?”

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That’s a tricky question. In general, easements implicitly come with “reasonable” access in order to accomplish the primary goal of the easement. For example, people who have power lines running across their property have an easement; the power company also has the right to walk across their property in order to climb up the pole to service the lines.

In this case, the easement is presumably for the sewer line, so the first question would be, is what they are proposing within the original easement? If so, they would have the right to do it without further compensation to you.

However, they are saying that they will condemn the property in order to accomplish what they want, which indicates to me that they’ve looked into it and think that it’s not within the scope of the easement. The government definitely does have the right to condemn property; the only question is how much they need to compensate you for it. You are definitely entitled to some compensation (it’s a Constitutional right), but the amount may not be very satisfactory to you–it’s the market value of the property, not its value to you.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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