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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 33791
Experience:  15 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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I need a new drainfield as my 30 year old one is failing. If

Customer Question

I need a new drainfield as my 30 year old one is failing. If I can't get my next door neighbor's permission for the machinery to go onto his property, do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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Does your current drain field extend into their property across the property line?

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Do you have any type of written or recorded easement rights to enter the neighbor's property for maintenance?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our current drain is not on their property at all. I don't know if I have easement rights. Where would I find that out? These neighbors just moved in and are new. The septic man said he would ask their permission and stated he never had a problem in the past, however, he hasn't contacted them at all and we need our drain field put in before winter (We live in Michigan, USA). If our new neighbors refused, would we have to sue them or what? We don't feel we know them well enough to approach them. Thank you for your response. Denise Mazzei
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Ok, if you had an easement, it would have been recorded in the local land records office and state that you had the right to enter their property for purposes of maintaining the drain field. But if your current drain field doesn't enter their property now, then it is unlikely that you have an easement.

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If this is the case, then you can't enter their property without permission or it would be considered a trespass and they could file a civil case for damages or even a criminal case if you remained after being told to leave.

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Unfortunately, you wouldn't have any legal grounds to sue them unless you had an easement. The need to enter someone else's property wouldn't give you the right to force them to allow it if they refused. They have the right to control who enters their property in the absence of a binding contractual agreement (i.e. the easement).

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So if you don't have an easement, and they won't agree to let you enter their property to make repairs, then you will have to figure out another way to repair it without entering the neighbor's property.

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I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...

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thanks

Barrister