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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118732
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I have a question concerning a dock in NH. For over 45 years

Customer Question

Hello I have a question concerning a dock in NH.
For over 45 years plus families have been using a shared dock on a province lake starting prior to 1958. When the dock was astablished the town owned the land. In the late 70s early 80s the town of Effingham offered a deed to land owners across the street to increase tax revinue.
The person who owned the property at that time had no issue with the dock that was existing. Roughly winter of 2008 land was sold and the new owner harassed the people using the dock / beach and installed their own dock not allowing the previous families access. I would like to know if there is any way to fight this and regain access. The frontage is next to a small beach that all the residents on the street continue to use. Thanks, Randy
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, the only way to reclaim the access is arguing a prescriptive easement, but if your use was not hostile and continuous for 20 years, then under NH law you would not succeed. Under NH law, to establish a prescriptive easement, the defendant must prove by the balance of the probabilities that she used the plaintiff’s driveway for twenty years and that her use was "adverse, continuous, and uninterrupted . . . in such a manner as to give notice to [the plaintiff] that an adverse claim was being made to it." See: Sandford v. Town of Wolfeboro, 143 N.H. 481, 484 (1999).
If the land was sold off and nothing was in the deed granting an easement to the other users who had been using it by permission, then I am afraid that it would not fit the elements necessary to prove the prescriptive easement.