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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116837
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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We have a new cable company installing lines in our neighborhood

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We have a new cable company installing lines in our neighborhood and they are installing the main cable runs inside of the sidewalk on the owners property. They claim that there is a "utility easement" inside of the sidewalk for "utilities" and they have the right to use it. I checked my property deed and a surveyors plat and there is no mention of a "utility" easement. There is obviously some easement as the existing telephone and electric run parallel and next to the sidewalk on the property side. The existing cable, Time Warner runs on the city right-of-way between the side walk and the street. The city will not give the second cable company permission to run in the right-of-way so they are running the cables through the front yards. The City has no record of the utility easement and doesn't know if it was granted or who it was granted to. The question is, if it was granted to the power company and the telephone company, does the cable company have the right to come through that easement? I have requested a copy of the recorded easement from the cable company since all of the proof that the easement even exists is purely their word. If there is an easement granted to the electric company and the telephone company, can the cable company just use the easement without approval of the two utilities and the homeowner?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Under OH law a utility easement has to be granted to a company, they cannot just come in and take someone's land for an easement. If there is no record of this easement then they are trespassing and causing damage to your land and this is grounds to sue them not only for damages, but for an injunction to stop their actions. The cable company would need permission of the other utility companies to piggy back on their easements. Thus, it sounds from what you are saying this company is trying to taken an easement without an easement grant and thus trespassing.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If there is no record of the easement grant, does it even exist. This development was built in 1972 when the City was far from professional and the power company and telephone companies were rural small time. We know that the main electric and telephone run on the property but does that mean that an easement even exists. If it wasn't granted to a "company" who would grant the "piggy-back" or does the homeowner have to grant a new easement to the cable company?

Thank you for your response.

If the easement is not recorded and the government never appropriated the easement on the land, it does not exist. The utility companies who already had the easement would be able to grant the piggy back. The municipality or government/county has to grant the easement. See: ORC Chapter 163.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I'm a little confused. If there was no recorded easement on the private property, how can the county or city grant an easement? Wouldn't the property owner have to grant the rights to their property?

Under OH law, the city/municipality/county has a right to appropriate land for utility easements or easements by necessity and that is who the cable company had to apply to in order to receive the easement rights. Any easement must be recorded. A utility easement is one granted because of necessity to provide services to the community and as such this is why the government is granted by the ORC the right to appropriate land to grant these easements.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Doesn't the appropriation of the land for the easement by the government include payment to the land owner?

Not in all cases, but, yes, it may include the payment if there is a loss of use of the land that is being taken as an easement.
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