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  #1  
Old 07/07/10, 11:46 AM
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question about easements through our land

before we bought our place a few acres at the back corner had been sold off. (we were lied to about it when negotiating the deal but that is water under the bridge) all the paperwork we have shows an easement through the property but not actually to theirs. that remains to be sorted out for sure.

they want to sell the property and plan to have a dozer clear access. if they come through our property (following the portion of the easement that our paperwork shows) to access theirs it will split our property in half (approx. 30 acres). we are gently suggesting they seek an easment through the back since there is a home and road only 100' or so from it and have also gently asked them to show us where their easement is placed because from our end it doesn't look like they have one. there is a legal easement that gets them about 2/3 there but is entirely on, and leads solely to, property we bought anyway which is why it didn't bother us.

we don't want to be unreasonable and we will not be a huge obstacle even if it does truly turn out they don't have a legal easement, but we do prefer they gain access elsewhere and plan to make it clear what they will be responsible for if they come through our land. we will be contacting the owners of the other land where it makes much more sense for them to gain access and might even be willing to pay for the survey and some compensation for it just to keep them off our land, but how that will work out remains to be seen and we want to be prepared for all possiblities as well as make sure we are clear on what will be required of them. some questions.

we have animals. shouldn't they have to pay to install gates and fences? it doesn't seem fair that they could just come plow through our fences and leave us with thousands of feet of fence to put up to keep animals off their driveway or have to pay for gates for them to have access through the animal areas. I think its their land and if they want to get back there it is their responsibility to do what needs to be done so that we can still utilize our land without added expense. but I don't know where we are legally on that.

also. do they legally have to create a real drive? I would much prefer a good gravel drive then a huge eroded mud pit which would be created if they just plow through it all with a dozer. erosion can be a nightmare and expand well beyond the original cleared area and the soil here isn't conducive to rapid regrowth of destroyed vegetation.

this could turn into a huge pia.

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  #2  
Old 07/07/10, 11:57 AM
 
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It depends on the law in Oklahoma. For example, here in Arkansas a landlocked piece of land may file a petition with the court to obtain an easement. Costs money, takes a long time, and at the end the person getting the easement has to pay damages, and may have to pay for things like fencing and gates. But again, it depends on the law in Oklahoma. Sound like it's going to be a mess....

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Old 07/07/10, 12:13 PM
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I'm not sure if your problem would be covered by title insurance. This is one of the times I'd advise talking to a lawyer. Lawyers run the gamut. In most areas there is one with the knowledge and integrity to really help. Others are a waste of money. To them you're another source of money they can bleed.

I'd look for an older lawyer that started practicing before ambulance chasing became an easy way to wealth. If you have a local college where a lawyer teaches business law, I would ask them for a referral. One of the local retired lawyers teaches boundary law to the surveying students.

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  #4  
Old 07/07/10, 12:23 PM
 
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Too bad you can't negotiate a low price and buy their property, without an easement, since you wouldn't need one. Unfortunately, that option will only be available for a few of us.

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  #5  
Old 07/07/10, 12:27 PM
 
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Who owns the easement?

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  #6  
Old 07/07/10, 01:00 PM
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Do you have a Title Report? If you are the Servient Estate with them as the Dominant Estate, who legally owns the Access Easement? I'd then go to see an Atty to get that Easement moved to the back of your property...may happen via settling. Sometimes, things get worked out when there is a well written atty letter. Another option is to offer a bit of a carrot... You could offer to sell them the back strip of your property that equals the Access Easement, if they agree to move it (if they are legally the owners of that right...). What this accomplishes, is increasing the value of your property, will allow it to be sold more easily, if ever necessary, and you are then not stuck with 50% of the concern. If you have to fence the back, along one edge, that would be better than having it in the middle of your property, fencing both sides... Maybe, a deal could be worked out to get them to pay for the fencing, maintain it, for the ownership of the Access Easement at the back... Another idea is to swap equal land for equal land, do a Boundary Line Adjustment and move the Access Easement to the back... Ideas, anyway I wish you the best!

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  #7  
Old 07/07/10, 01:10 PM
 
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Why not offer to buy the property? That way, they don't have the expense of a dozer and clearing it? My personal opinion is "You can NEVER have too much property!" See if a deal can be cut - that way eliminating future problems as well.

What exactly does the "easement" say? If it just gives them access to their property, to me that would mean they are able to drive through a field or whatever and gain "access" to it. I don't think an easement grants access to make a road on YOUR property (you would be losing property by doing this).

Now might be a time to go to a lawyer who specializes in land (easements, contracts, etc) and see just exactly what it means in your state.

We had property adjoining us that was landlocked - no road to it, etc. While we did have to give the owners access (our property was the easiest way to get to theirs), that meant they could drive as far as they could go and WALK the rest of the way (it was in the woods). It meant they couldn't have their property logged - which is what they wanted to do. A few years later, they sold it to me because there wasn't much they could do with the land otherwise. Of course, your state laws may be different.

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  #8  
Old 07/07/10, 01:14 PM
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so it sounds like a shark er I mean lawyer might be in order huh? we have contemplated offering to sell them the property neccesary to access it. however we would really really prefer they get access elswhere. it is stupid anyway. coming from the other direction they may need 100' of easment/drive. coming through our property they will need almost 2,000'. it seems like such an assanine arrangement. the woman who bought it paid almost nine times as much per acre as we did and it is not improved at all. there is no way we could justify buying it from her for what she paid for it. she really got screwed imo. I hate to be a B**** but the fact that she got shafted isn't really our problem and we don't have the cash to be rescuing her from it.

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  #9  
Old 07/07/10, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
so it sounds like a shark er I mean lawyer might be in order huh?
Absolutely.
Around here you can't sell a landlocked piece of property because easements are not considered "permanent".

If their "easement" doesn't actually go all the way to their property, it may not really be valid. If the Court has to arbitrate an easement, they generally go with the closest access to a public road
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Old 07/07/10, 01:27 PM
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hmmmm. I suppose that after they figure out how much its going to cost them to get it sellable they ( the woman bought it but now apparently has a new man) may be willing to unload it for whatever we will buy it for. it might pay to not be too nice and insist on legal access and full compliance with all legal requirements...gee that sounds awful .....i can't imagine anyone buying it if they can't even get to it. well...er...I guess she possibly did, so thats not entirely true.

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  #11  
Old 07/07/10, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
it might pay to not be too nice and insist on legal access and full compliance with all legal requirements...gee that sounds awful
It may "sound awful", but building huge runs of fencing and splitting your place in half to make her happy sounds more awful to me.

The laws are set up to protect both parties, so you might as well take advantage of them, as she will certainly do
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  #12  
Old 07/07/10, 01:40 PM
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It is up to them to prove to you that they have an easement. I would not allow them to access or set foot on your property without providing documentation showing legal access. I would consult an attorney, keep a detailed log of events, take pictures of the current condition of the land that they want to use for access, and post No Trespassing signs. If they continue to use your property without providing documentation, I would file for a restraining order. Call the Sheriffs and ask for a log entry each time that you have an issue. I've been very successful in deterring very motivated people trying to steal access to their property. Keep in mind that they likely knew that there was no legal access to their property when they purchased it dirt cheap. Now they just want a freebie. The key is to make them the bad guy before they portray you as the enemy when you wind up in court.

Also, if you allow them access you lose all control of the road, are there other property owners that might want to use the same access? If so, good luck getting them to keep a gate closed. I know somebody who just lost a court battle over a gate not being closed on an easement.

Jason

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  #13  
Old 07/07/10, 02:05 PM
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I would hate to be in their position. but I hate to be in ours also. we just got up 600' of fencing after being here a year. in fact I still have 5 t-posts to get in the ground to complete it and we haven't any gates yet. I can't imagine trying to put in another 2000' in this rock. i'll do just about anything to avoid fencing anymore unless it is absolutly undeniably necessary. it was a huge chore to get what we have done so far.

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Old 07/07/10, 02:13 PM
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You MUST get a real estate lawyer to look at all the documents and figure out exactly what is what and who owns what and if there *really* is an easement.

Otherwise, you are playing tiddlywinks in the dark.

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  #15  
Old 07/07/10, 03:59 PM
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Did you have the property surveyed? If not you might want to have someone come out and mark the described easement before you get too deep in things.

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  #16  
Old 07/07/10, 04:28 PM
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You need to get a REAL ESTATE atty. Not just an attorney. Easement wars are common here - as a matter of fact a person was killed a few years back over an easement issue. When money is involved tempers can get hot.

Is the easement deeded & recorded? If you did not know of this when you closed on your land, you Do have recourse to the title comapny and the seller - who should have known.

My neighbor has the same situatuion. I have a legal, deeded and recorded easement through her property. She is suing the people who sold her the property and the title company. The easement was recorded incorrectly, but that was found not to be a valid excuse.

Because the easement bisects her property, we are negotinating to move the easment IF she will put in a raised roadway as she wants the easment in an area that floods. No thanks. Because she fenced off the easment, she has had to put in a gate for me. Mind you, this is not my main access to the property, but if I ever want to split it I will need that access.

lorichristie has the best alternative solutions for you to pursue. You need to think what alternatives you have available today for the future in case you ever want/need to sell.

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  #17  
Old 07/07/10, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norcalfarm View Post
Keep in mind that they likely knew that there was no legal access to their property when they purchased it dirt cheap. Now they just want a freebie.

Jason
I believe the OP said the land cost them a fortune no freebie here . In fact they may have gotten shafted by the same folks that shafted the OP.
DQ Are they just trying to get their money back? Maybe if you both cooperate you could win a case against the original landowner about how selling it to them and later pretending to sell it to you was fraud.?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DQ View Post
before we bought our place a few acres at the back corner had been sold off. (we were lied to about it when negotiating the deal but that is water under the bridge) all the paperwork we have shows an easement through the property but not actually to theirs. that remains to be sorted out for sure. .
it would seem a key point. a easement that dead ends on you with out reaching them is pretty useless to them as long as it more than the 100 feet to the other road it might be VERY important.

t
Quote:
Originally Posted by DQ View Post
They want to sell the property and plan to have a dozer clear access. if they come through our property (following the portion of the easement that our paperwork shows) to access theirs it will split our property in half (approx. 30 acres). we are gently suggesting they seek an easment through the back since there is a home and road only 100' or so from it and have also gently asked them to show us where their easement is placed because from our end it doesn't look like they have one. there is a legal easement that gets them about 2/3 there but is entirely on, and leads solely to, property we bought anyway which is why it didn't bother us..
You mention a easement above why doesnt it look like they have one?

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Originally Posted by DQ View Post
do they legally have to create a real drive? I would much prefer a good gravel drive then a huge eroded mud pit which would be created if they just plow through it all with a dozer. erosion can be a nightmare and expand well beyond the original cleared area and the soil here isn't conducive to rapid regrowth of destroyed vegetation.

this could turn into a huge pia.
Id say that depends on the terms of the easement and the laws of your state ...and your negotiating abilities!
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  #18  
Old 07/07/10, 06:57 PM
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the property is L shaped. fwe bought it in two chunks a few months apart. from what I can tell from reading the legal mumbo jumbo paperwork that came with the property I can only interpret a legal easment that splits the property in half which is consistent with our understanding of its placement when we bought it. (it is on the first portion we bought with the house) it is a legal easment that has been there through several owners. neither my husband or I can remember being advised of an easement through the second chunk of land to what is the few acres sold. I looked but I get pretty cross eyed reading the southwestnortheastblah blah blah so I a may just not be understanding.

we found out about the few acres that was sold off before we closed on that portion of the land. we could have backed out but decided not to because we had already bought the house and property next to it. so I'm sure we have no legal recourse. the owners were just shady about it in that we were specifically shown the survey (which had not been updated since they had sold the few acres) when we were negotiating with them. we negotiated and purchased the house and 16ish acres and put the other 16ish acres under contract contingent on the sale of our other house. it was only after we bought the house that they said "oh yeah. and actually we already sold some of the second chunk of land so its actually only 14 or so acres. we had a fit and they knocked some money off the price. we weren't going to blow the whole deal for two acres but we sure bluffed like we would!! the guy told my husband that the lady who bought it didn't have access to it anyway so we shouldn't worry about it. so he basically told us that he screwed her over and sold her land without legal access. we were pretty shocked and really didn't believe him. we figured he was just saying that so we wouldn't blow the deal over it all.

basically. if there is an easment we can't find the documentation and we don't remember being told about it by the title company like we were with the easement on the first portion. and we were specifically told by the previous owner that there wasn't one...but I don't trust their word so much so that we consider it completely irrelevant.

but. there is always a but. it will not suprise me at all if an easement shows itself legally and we were just not made aware of it/it was glossed over or whatever.

my husband spoke with them and told them they need to come up with legal docs for it if it is there. we shall see.

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Old 07/07/10, 10:33 PM
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If you planning on living there from now on, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to avoid future problems. Buy them out. If you don't, you might end up with a split piece of property, and the owners could be some of the gems folks talk about on here. Think: crack smoking meth-heads, with one kid in the Bandidos, one kid a Crip, an adopted son in MS-13, they all have Harleys and four wheelers... they shoot their guns everywhere... have a pack of wild heathen bull-dogs... they 'borrow' things... they call CPS one day, the law the next, and PETA the next, on you... See the John Belushi/Dan Ackroyd movie Neighbors.

buy now, or forever hold your peace

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  #20  
Old 07/08/10, 12:44 AM
 
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Buy it or live with it.

I have to agree with Texican. A few years ago we had the chance to buy the 1/4 mile creek frontage next to our farm. The min they would take was three times what it was worth. The wife was leery but I convinced her we should bid the min they would accept even though it was way out of line price wise. Now we own it and we got it paid for. Got laughed at a lot but after ten years we still have our peace and quite and now the property in ten years is worth four times what we paid. We have had several offers for the 1/4 mile we bought and even more offers for the whole farm with the half mile of both sides of the creek. Not in my life time but its up to the wife after that. If you can buy it do it. If we had not bought it there would have been at least 20 water front cliff lots on our North side. Our privicy and peace and quite would have been history. The land had access deeded to the land across our land. The road had been there for over a 150 years so it will always be there. Figure the cost of an attorney, time, and mabey splitting the farm, all the fencing and the price may not be that much more. If the present owner does not force the issue at some time they will sell or die and leave it to some one and it starts over. Just my opinion. David

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