Question about easements I am buying a 2nd house it has a private road as part if the land please help?

The property comes with a long private paved two lane road over 1000 feet long I would own it but the land locked neighbors about five homes all have use of it the city also uses it for trash pick up. My question is am I responsible for repair and maintenance such as potholes and or settlement cracks. I have to let them on my property to get to their property by law I understand but can I keep others from using the road? If they are having guests over can I prevent them from parking on the road? Can I have guest over and allow them to park on the road? I also saw saw a basketball hoop that clearly uses the road ( my property ) as a playground what is my liability should the they fall and get hurt while using my property for it’s unintended use? I don’t wish to prevent my neighbors from continued intended access use from city road to their property, but I would like to know my rights as the land owner. Can I inform them that they or their guests can’t park on the road. Can I inform them that their children must play basketball on their driveway. Or do easement protect loaned owners from liability. Can I charge them for part of the maintenance because they use it as much as I do? Sorry to be repetitive, but I would like a clear understanding on easement issues. Any other information would also be greatly appreciated thank you

9 Responses to “Question about easements I am buying a 2nd house it has a private road as part if the land please help?”

  1. ca_surveyor Says:

    Great questions..let me see if I can help a bit.

    1) The easment itself. You need to get a copy of the easement document and read it. Typically – in California at least – (but not a guarantee) the easement is simply a right of way over your land. The owners of the easement are responsible for its maintenance since no one gets an eternal free ride. You might be included in that requirement if you use the roadway for your own access.

    Your title report will give you the source of the easement and you can request a copy of the document from your agent or the sellers agent and they will provide it (or should).

    The basketball court is another matter. Somehow I doubt that this is a permitted ingress/egress element so you are correct in asking about it. It is your land so, if someone were to be hurt, it todays world, you would likely be sued along with the owner of the basketball equipment regardless of your level of responsibility. Still.. the odds of getting hurt on a basketball court are pretty slim so you might simply want to check with the parents/owners and get some kind of indeminfication to resolve it. If the court is MOUNTED on your land then it is yours. If it is one of those ‘roll outs’ it is likely owned by the player(s).

    Parking may be allowed by the document, but generally ingress and egress is just that. In and out.. no stopping. Post some no parking signs and enforce them if the easement does not allow it but that means YOU also.

    Lastly, you might want to talk to a lawyer about your legal rights and obligations should your requests/demands be ingnored. It is unlikley that the easement could be vacated for non-compliance since you would landlock the properties, so if push comes to shove you need to know what your ultimate action could be.

    After you find out your rights (and obligations) you might want to compile a summary along with a request for repairs (if it is not your responsibility) and send it to all of the concerned parties, inviting them to discuss the matter. Remember that good ‘fences’ make good neighbors.


  2. fritya56 Says:

    1) often maintenance is shared with the other frontagers opposite i.e. opposite your property if there are any , maintenance is your responsibility up to centre line if properties are opposite you , I would of thought it reasonable for all to share costs if properties need access road in a serviceable condition also to enjoy shared right of way 2) access is needed at all times especially by emergency services so parking needs to allow access but as long as a vehicle width is maintained then that ought to be reasonable 3) ball games are not recommended on any road but it depends on nuisance factor . get the date of construction of your property and neighbouring property as if the property that needs access is younger then they must have been dependant upon access road so they want to enjoy it they can contribute , local authority ought to have record with planning application . good luck , pain anything like that , don’t worry about liability it is not expected to be in pristine condition .

  3. someone Says:

    30 yrs experience living on a private road. No you cannot block them, yes you are responsible for repair and maintenance and snow plowing. Your only option is to form an association of every resident to share the costs equally. Then you pay a private contractor to do the work. The association must have a contract with each home owner so failure to pay their share you can put a lien on their house. It is a tough haul dealing with neighbors.

  4. Mr Placid Says:

    The general rule is the following:
    1. The dominant estate is responsible for maintenance and repairs.
    2. Guests, contractors, business associates, and general invitees are all allowed to use the easement to access the dominant estate.
    3. You cannot charge anyone for the easement.
    4. You cannot use the easement in a manner that will interfere with the purpose of the easement. So, you cannot park cars on the easement if that will prevent your neighbors from passing over the easement. But, you can plant grass there, if the grass doesn’t prevent vehicles from passing through.

    I say these are the "general" rules because they can be altered by contract. For instance, if, at the time the easement was created, the parties specified in the deed that maintenance would be shared between the dominant and servient estates, then the maintenance will be a shared expense. Likewise, the parties could agree that only certain persons, or certain vehicles, are entitled to use the easement. Parties can also agree at time the easement is created whether the easement will be paved, whether it may be gated, etc. Parties can also agree that dominant estate shall pay a yearly fee of $XX to the servient estate. There is a lot of flexibility allowed in the creation of easements. Additionally, you & the dominant estates can agree to modify the existing easement agreement.

    Your liability depends on state law. At worst, you are liable if your own negligence causes injury to anyone on the easement. Example of your own negligence: You know that kids play basketball there. You notice some bears in the area. So, you set up some bear traps next to the basketball area. You cover the traps with some foliage. A kid playing basketball steps on the traps. You will be liable for the kid’s injury.

    As you can see, the first place to look for answers to your questions is the deed that created the easement.

    BTW, "dominant" estate is the property that is benefitted by the easement, i.e. your neighbor’s property. "Servient" estate is the property burdened by the easement, i.e. your property.

  5. Andrew P Says:

    Usually in this situation, there is a Shared Maintenance Agreement for the easement that is recorded in County records that will spell out each owner’s responsibilities. If you have a title report for the property, it should list the agreement if it exists. Usually, maintenance costs are shared equally. As to parking within the easement, it’s usually okay as long as nobody is blocking access. I have no idea about liability issues.

    These are really questions for a real estate attorney. I’d get a copy of the recorded easement and the recorded maintenance agreement (if it exists) and take them to a real estate attorney with a good reputation (call a land surveyor or title company for a recommendation) and ask them about it.

  6. Nosaj Says:

    hun, you know i try to answer every question you got if i know the answer, but in this case all i can say is DAM. lol that’s a lot of issues for something as silly and simple as a road, here is what i do know

    my family owns a house and property. the side walk cracks and breaks, "we are responsible for the repairs" if i child is injured DUE to the cracks, and we where AWARE THE CRACKS EXISTED then yes we are responsible.
    ALSO even if you find the right answer her online, i would still get a lawyer because people are greedy picky and self centered, and f they think they can win one over on you, they will! always protect your self! that’s the best advise i can tell you!

  7. Bill Says:

    Make them sign off on it, make them sign a paper saying they use it at there own risk, and you should be safe.

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  9. Frank T Says:

    my best suggestions would be to call your local city department and ask them, also call your county and state departments to see what they have to say, do NOT take one person’s word for it
    like they say ..go to the horses mouth….get the facts first….avoid future problems or laws suits
    also have the Real Estate Agent WRITE it out clearly in all documents, when they ask WHY, just say to cover myself if any future laws suits…then they will tell the truth..

    good luck