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Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5224
Experience:  Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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A recent town-sponsored sewer line upgrade revealed that our

Customer Question

Hello. A recent town-sponsored sewer line upgrade revealed that our sewer line runs across our neighbor's property. Our neighbor's concern is now compounded by a clean-out stub to our line on his lawn. We have a good relationship with our neighbors, but this can sour if nothing is done. My question is whether and to what extent are we or the town legally obliged to help remedy this?
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Other details: New Jersey. Our hose is the original home on the land, 1905, with the neighbors / subdivision in 1956. No records of easements and no flags during our respective title searches. -- Thanks.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No legal claims have been filed, but I would hate that it would have to come to that.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Estimates to re-route our sewer line are $8-15k.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Legal Eagle replied 2 months ago.

Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here to see my ratings information) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. There is a chance that neither you nor the town have to do anything in this case. The reason is because of something called an easement by prescription. Under New Jersey Law, “An easement by prescription arises through an individual's use of land as opposed to the possession thereof. An easement of this nature will be recognized in these instances: (1) the easement is adverse or contrary to the interests, and absent the permission, of the landowner; (2) it is open and notorious; (3) it is continuous and uninterrupted; and (4) it exists for the period of time prescribed by state statute. If for a period of time beyond the prescribed statutory period A creates and openly uses a right of way across B's land without B's permission then an easement by prescription is created.” All this really means is that over the last 60 years the fact that the sewer line has been underneath your neighbor's property for all this time so just that you have an easement even though it wasn't officially given to you for this line. Generally, the minimum amount of time that is needed is only 20 years. Therefore, you and the neighbor could agree to maybe split the cost to have it rerouted, but keep in mind that you do not have legal obligation to do so.

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