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RONB-ESQ
RONB-ESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 357
Experience:  Right of Way Manager at Access Midstream Partners, LP
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I live on a private road I own in common w/2 other parcels.

Customer Question

I live on a private road I own in common w/2 other parcels. We are served by a village waterline running under it which runs to the houses of the three owners of the road. An owner of the adjacent parcel has well water currently. He wants to connect to the sewer line and to do so he needs to access the line from the commonly owned road. He is asking for an easement. It seems like we can either approve, deny or approve with agreed upon conditions.
Is this accurate?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I welcome you to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. The question and response may be viewed by other parties as noted in JA’s terms of service. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Do note that a phone call is not required and we can continue here just typing comments back and forth.

Do not be concerned with short delays in my response to you.

Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. If you would like a phone call let me know and I will arrange it.

I type slow, but including some time to research certain questions you will see my answer below in 5-10 minutes.

Regards,

Ron

One question to clarify. Will the property owner be buying the easement or will the Town or City? I am presuming the property owner, but please correct me if that is incorrect.

Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Also who owns the road or is there an easement grant to all 3 parcels giving you access to the road. How does this owner have legal access to the road? If there is an easement granted to you and him allowing use of the road does it make any reference to public utilities?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The property owner has requested the easement.
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

I specialize in easements as I have overseen the acquisition of thousands for a natural gas pipeline company I previously worked for and as such am very familiar with easement law generally as they all have many of the same elements. To answer the question you posed you are correct. You can agree, disagree or agree with certain conditions.

A few conditions to consider are the total width of the easement you can have a permanent easement of x' with temporary easement wider to allow for equipment, etc. This all depends on how large the line is and what equipment is needed. You would generally price this based on the value per square foot of the property he wants and since he is not buying it outright he would pay 50%-75% of the actual value since you can still use the service. It might help if you ask me some follow up questions as to any concerns you might want to address, etc so I can better answer your question.

Ron

Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Though he may not want to incur the cost I would require that he have a surveyor draw up a "plat" showing the exact location of the easement so there is no confusion years from now as to what he is legally entitled to use. In most locations this is now required when you record the easement, but if in the event your County allows you just grant a general easement, meaning you just generally explain the area as being the center 5' of the current private road it leaves things to vague and confusing as the land use changes over years. You don't know what the future holds and 15 years from now you may want to convert your adjacent parcel to some other use so I would consider that and not grant an easement that adversely impacts the ability build a home or building on your adjacent lot.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Three parcels (with primary resident houses) own the road in common. The easement requesting party does not have access to the road.
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Ok please reply with any additional questions you have. I did answer the initial question, but am happy to answer related follow up questions, but I need to know what concerns you have or what conditions you might want to add to the easement to better answer your question.

Ron

Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Does that answer your question? If so thank you in advance for providing me positive feedback as that is the only way I am credited for answering your question Do note that after leaving positive feedback you are welcome to reply here with as many follow up questions as are needed to answer the question you posted for free.

Regards,

Ron

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a way to determine fair market value of the land impacted by the easement? How would a natural gas pipeline company determine fair compensation?
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

We used commercial appraisals and spent alot more than would probably make sense here ($3000 typically). You could look at the value of surrounding properties and then break that down by square footage. An acre is equal to 43560 sq. ft. If I understand correctly though this easement will be placed within the confines of a road. If that is correct the majority of the value of the property associated with the road is used up by the road. By that I mean that adding a utility to a road does not really diminish the value of the land used by the road anymore than the road already does.

I have seen land owners commonly use the sales prices on nearby vacant parcels and they add/subtract based on attributed of the other parcels that make them different so that they are able to come up with a good estimation of the value for the subject property after considering the value of nearby properties. It can get much more complex, but in essence you could just get some recent "comps" from a realtor for nearby parcels with no houses/buildings and come up with a price per square foot.

You might find that if is will be in the road and the road will have to always be there even 20 years from now then the real cost to you is the disruption to the road due to the construction. If this is a hard surface (concrete/asphalt) you should require him to agree to repair/replace any portion damaged as a result of the construction.

Ron

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks, Ron. It is a hard surface and will probably not cause any problem whatsoever, except at installation. The three owners of the road (me and my two neighbors) need to maintain and repair the road ourselves. Would it be reasonable to grant the easement for a cash contribution to the Association? They pay all restoration cost and filing and recording fees, correct?
Gene
Expert:  RONB-ESQ replied 1 year ago.

Yes to contributing to the association. While it is generally expected that the easement owner would restore the surface to its condition immediately preceeding the construction I would want that in writing included in the easement and would also want to include that he is responsible for any future damage that is attributable to his sewer line. Though unlikely if it was not properly glued and started leaking it could cause damage to the subsurface of the road that he should be responsible for within the document. The more that is written and not just implied the better because if it is written and signed by both the grantors (you) and grantee (him) and properly drafted he can also be sued under a breach of contract claim should that be needed down the road.

I used to purposely seek to only have the landowner sign the agreement just because it would be another hurdle for them to jump through to force gas companies compliance and if we didn't sign (which is typically not required to grant an easement) then they could not sue us under a basic claim of breach of contract even though you can make other arguments that upon them relying on such promises we became liable.

Main point there is it is better for you to get him to sign in front of a notary as well as you if the easement will contain certain agreements related to his duties.

Ron