neighbors will not help maintain shared easement road

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Okanoganer, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. Okanoganer

    Okanoganer New Member

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    Hi, All Wandering if any one could give me some advice, on the following situation. I purchased my property about 4 years ago from a land company that subdivided about 3,000 Acres into 1/4 1/4 sections and dozed in over 15 miles of very primative roads for egress to all of the parcels. Last fall two familes moved up here,to get to their property they to have to drive 2 miles up the same easement road as I do. The road is basically a very narrow trail with no gravel or ditchs my property is located at the top of a mountain so the road is very very steep. My problem is the new neighbors think the road is a super highway, in the summer they fly up and down the road,wich of course has created terrible ruts. The road is so steep no contractor in my area is willing to try to plow the road in the winter untill it has been regraded and graveled, wich was no problem for me. Used a snowmobile for the first few months of the winter untill I had a firm base of snow on the road then I would only drive the truck on the road when it was froozen. The nighbors did not like that idea nor were they willing to pitch in any money to gravel the road. So over the winter they drove their trucks up and down the road and created massive ruts. The road is now to the point that I can barely get my 4 WD F-350 up it, and the propane company will no longer send a truck up here so im in a pretty sticky situation. On the purchase contract from the land company it states that each landowner shall help maintain the portion of road they drive over to acces their property. Last month I had about 200 Yards of pit run put down on the road and that did not do much good. Ive contacted the land company and they will not help in any way. Any one have any ideas on how I could get them to pay up???????? Other then the fact that they wont help with the road they are great neighbors, and I dont wanna go to court unless I absoultley have to. (Sorry 4 the long post) Any ideas would be great.
    THANKS,Shawn
     
  2. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    You might try installing some "traffic calming devices" - more commonly known as speed bumps. Maybe a couple of really big ones just past your driveway. :haha:
     

  3. Yankee1

    Yankee1 Well-Known Member

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    Outside of going to court I see no other way to force them to pay.

    I f you do invest in a grader and gravel I would reroute any improvements to be on your property if viable. Then in time they will no longer be able to drive the egress road.
     
  4. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Big Rockpile is facing a similar situation.

    Legally, you're on a slightly better standing, because something in writing proclaims they are responsible for road maintenance.

    Realistically though, you're just as screwed. This problem will be with you as long as you own the property.
    If you hire a lawyer to collect from these 2 jamokes....it could easily cost you 5 figures by the time everything is said & done. Then, hard feelings will have been established.....and you'll be living next to people that hate you. Expect to go through the same situation throughout your life as long as you live here.

    You only have a couple of options. Sue.....or personally maintain the road (at your expense) up to your property.

    I'm convinced shared access is potentially one of the biggest pitfalls a landowner can face.
     
  5. Ana Bluebird

    Ana Bluebird Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with Hoop: "I'm convinced shared access is potentially one of the biggest pitfalls a landowner can face." We had a similar situation once. It went okay until one of the properties sold to a drunken jerk. We were in the process of going to court when he started threatening to shoot someone. I believed him because he would walk around the property drunk shooting deer guns (not at deer). Well, we sold. Angry neighbors can be very scarey, but then do you want to maintain the road all by yourself? We were legally in the right---written in the title contract---but????
     
  6. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    well, youre best bet is to simply talk to them , you didnt mention if you had tried that or not, i assume they are earlier on the road than you are, correct ?
    explain that the road is shared, and aske them what they would like to do , in theory, if all land owners are willing, yo could sign the road over to the county, then the county would be responsible for maintanence,
    otherwise, you could hire someone , and pay them to fix the road, and send each of the neighbors 1/3 of the bill , payable to you , and if they dont pay, file a lein on thier land , no it owuldnt make great neighbors, but, if they year up and down the road like that , they dont sound like such awesome neighbors

    in my world, i would go with the first one, fire up the bbq, invite the nieghbors, and have lots of good food and SODA( no beer!)
    and bring up the road issue during food time , its hard to be angry when youre sucking bbq off your fingers .......
    just some thoughts
    Beth
     
  7. booga

    booga Member

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    Why is it some people get off trying to force someone to do something ?

    If you cant agree on what to do with the road, then you will either have to do it yourself, or not have it done. What you need need to do is find some improvement you both agree on. if its as bad as you say they are probably having trouble too. Why not just pay someone to grade the road with a tractor ? Temporary yes, but effective for a while, probably get someone to do it for $200 (according to how long). Half that is $100. Maybe they would be receptive to paying that, rather than trying thousands for gravel. How would you feel if they wanted it paved, and wanted you to pay half ??? Would you be upset ?? If the sued you and made you pay $30,000 to pave a road you find acceptable ?

    Youll either have to find something they can agree to, maybe and uneven split, or do it yourself.
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

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    A question that any lawyer or judge would likely ask:

    How is it that, "...the new neighbors think the road is a super highway, in the summer they fly up and down the road," when you can, "barely get my 4 WD F-350 up it"?

    One would think that the word "maintain" would mean something very different to most everybody. If it were me and I was driving a $500 "beater" pickup truck I would consider the road maintained if I could traverse it. On the other hand, If I were driving a $45,000 "4 WD F-350" I would want the maintainence of the road to be such as to protect my investment in the truck.

    On the issue of propane, the first year we lived in our new home we didn't have a road that our LP company would use so we hauled the LP ourselves in 100lb tanks. The next year we had our road in and flus up for our wood stoves, and LP became a back-up fuel.

    Just my two pence worth.
     
  9. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    Dude, smoke the peace pipe or something! He states that they are unwilling to help maintain the road so he must have contacted them. He also states that the contract which THEY SIGNED TOO states that they must help maintain the road. Since they agreed by signing to do so they are the irresponsible party and in my opinion are forcing HIM to do something. Namely, maintain it at his expense or put up with the degradation that he is the minority party in causing. Do you read the posts prior to commenting?

    ed
     
  10. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if there is any solution here.

    Have you considered that maybe they simply don't have the money. If they just bought the property, they might be strapped for cash. (Heck, that's probably a given.)

    How much would it cost to gravel that much road?? I have 1/4 miles of flat land - it will cost at least $2,000 to gravel it. Geez, two miles of steep road would cost a fortune!! And then there's the on-going maintenance. It sounds like we're talking serious money.

    And - to be fair - their definition of 'maintain' might be different from yours. Since they can 'fly up and down' it, they might feel it's perfectly fine. And I can see their point.

    Whatever happens - I wish you the best of luck. It's a tough situation.
     
  11. ajoys

    ajoys Well-Known Member

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    Try to talk it out as much as possible. Talking to a lawyer is also a good idea, the lawyer can give you a summary of the situation as far as what can be done legally, costs, possible outcomes etc.... so that you will have a better understanding of your situation.

    If there is a written agreement you could eventually force them to pay, attach wages, maybe put a lien on there house etc.... but it would be very, very costly with no guarantees.

    I think the only realistic choices are to talk it out, do it yourself or move.

    Also look into what it takes to get the road county maintained if possible.

    Good luck
     
  12. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I'm surprised that nobody has suggested you get a big ole monster truck and make the ruts so deep that they can't get through themselves. When they come asking you to help out in fixing the road just look at them for a second and start laughing really really loud...BWAHAHAHAHA!

    Mike
     
  13. Chikin

    Chikin Member

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    I agree with Mike. take all of the money you would spend towards the road and invest in a suspension lift and some big ol tires. I've seen an f-350 with 38" tires and 12 inches of lift and it could go through anything
     
  14. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I am going through this also and this very day taking steering linkage apart on my little pickup to repair damage to it from big rock sticking up. I havent even talked to the two neighbors as they have zilch in way of money and I'm not wild about putting money into it myself until I am ready to sell one of these days. I am thinking hard on aquiring an old '70s era Wagoneer to get up and down. They are rugged, cheap, and not too bad on hiway. Also have solid front axle so I dont have to deal with cv joints.
     
  15. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    It's been my homestead experience that propane guys won't leave the pavement between September - June anyway, so you might as well get yourself a driveway rig and keep your pavement vehicles at the other end and plan on hauling your own propane and supplies.

    Maybe your neighbors like the road mostly impassable to keep the riff raff and developers out.
     
  16. booga

    booga Member

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    He states the neighbors would not pay to have it graded and graveled, not that they would do nothing ! And since this is a DIRT ROAD, perhaps the other party does not want to IMPROVE the road, only MAINTAIN the DIRT ROAD.

    Perhaps you need to lay off the peace pipe ;-)

    Thus I suggested he get/hire a tractor with a blade and grade the road.
     
  17. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    There is no acceptable solution to the shared road problem. You cannot get money out of an individual that does not have any. There is no gain for the enforcement people to get involved at this juncture. The only viable solution that I have witnessed is for the county to never permit this type of development initially. Had the county forced the developer to install the minimum for a county road then the county could have collected taxes and the county could and would maintain the road. It took the county officials a while to wise up here and we have some of these type developments from the past and the roads remain unsatisfactory and the value of the property accessed by these ruts never gain in value of any consequence. The sad part is that the people that live in the unaccesible homesites will not qualify for a home mortgage by major lenders and instead they are forced to go to lenders that charge exorbitant rates.
     
  18. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    We share a 200 foot easement with our neighbors. Every two to three years we split the cost of the gravel and we all get out there and spread it. I feel lucky to have such good neighbors.

    But, I will say that the plow just causes one hell of a mess.

    I would say worry only about your part and pay for it yourself. You could put dirt in the holes and grade it yourself or pay and be done with it although it is truly unfair. It stinks, but lets face it if everyone were fair in this world, it would be a different world. Even if you took it to court, would you be willing to do that the next time it needed work? The cost of an Attorney would probably cost a good part of what the maintenance would cost you to do in the first place.

    I also vote for seeing if you can make it a county road or, make another egress off your property and the heck with them, although that may make time, imagine the satisfaction!

    brural
     
  19. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

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    hmmm...grade and gravel just from thier place to yours (that wouldnt be shared anyway, probobly) and since you have a 4 wheel drive, go offroad in places where you must down by them?

    Once they see your part of the road, they might want to share the cost of thier section.

    or get several estmates and take the lowest one and pay it. Then take them to small claims court for the maximum allowed (if it is less than you paid) with your documentation that it is supposed to be shared expenses and see what happens.

    Is the *shared access shared upkeep* clause recorded in the recorders office or is it just in the paperwork you got? That might make a difference. I am not positive but if the shared access is not recorded, they might be able to keep you from using that road.
     
  20. booga

    booga Member

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    Two things, first, if its a dirt road, then he could probably only sue for maintanince on a dirt road. Second you rcorrect, if it was not recorded, then its worthless.