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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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The neighbor drilled the well on my land. 10 years ago. can

Customer Question

The neighbor drilled the well on my land . 10 years ago . can I use the well for my water?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

If the well is on your land, it belongs to you. You have a right to use it. Under Maine law, your neighbor would have to have kept a well on your land, without permission, for 20 years or more before he could claim any ownership interest in it. Maine Statutes, Title 14, Section 812. If he's physically blocking you from using the well, you could file an Action in Ejectment, asking a judge to enter an order that he's trespassing on your well by using it. Another option is to tell him (before a witness or on video), that you'll give him permission to cross your land and access the well on it going forward. That would create what's called a license. A license can be revoked at any time, but once you tell him that he's allowed to use your land, he cannot try to claim ownership via adverse possession in another 10 years. A third option would be to sell him the right to use the well (and the land surrounding it), which creates an easement for the use of the well. Price would be based on the value of your land per square foot, and the document would be recorded so there's a public record that you gave him permission. Just be aware that an easement cannot be revoked if problems arise down the road (including with a new neighbor).

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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?