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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7404
Experience:  Lawyer- Broker 30+years - foreclosure, short sale, liens, title attorney.
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100 yr old house I live in was converted into two condos.

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100 yr old house I live in was converted into two condos. My unit has the open three story staircase. My neighbors unit has the kitchen "backstairs". The couple who purchased all the property and did all the conversions lived in my neighbor's unit.

There is an easement in writing that says my neighbor has the right to use my stairwell to move large objects to their second floor. The condo docs call my stairwell " limited common area". At the second floor landing there are doors that allow access between the units.

I have allowed them to use this easement uncontested several times, but the last time they asked I was out of town on business and denied it until I got home. At that point the condo maintenance guy said they had already taken care of it.

I had to buy a house in a hurry and overlooked this easement but my agent said she did not believe it was legal. I now want to fight it. In my mind it is ludicrous that one owner has the right to demand access through the living space I OWN.

I live in PA. What are your thoughts on this one? Also, should they be sharing any cost of my maintaining the stairwell?

This is one of the primary reasons that I advise clients never to purchase half of a split double or properties that utilize common areas that actually affect the structure. You are always going to have problems like this. You asked for my "thoughts", and I'm thinking that if fighting it means you wish to terminate their easement of access, you really have no chance of winning that in court, so save your money.

If the easement is not qualified or limited to being used only when you are present, you can insert that qualification now, but it will require the consent of the neighbor.


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