Real Estate Law
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Since you have the necessary permits and permission from the city to put up the gate, I do not think the other owner has a legal leg to stand on. While there is a easement to allow emergency vehicle access, that does not need to be opened or held itself out to be opened when the property is abandoned. If the property is boarded up and is now an issue with regard to the homeless, that trumps anything that he can complain about with regards ***** ***** access to the property. This is now an issue of public safety and I cannot blame you for putting in a gate to help protect your property at this point. I am going to guess that is why the city gave you the permits. If at some point there is a change and be property becomes habitable again, then the gate can be addressed. I can't imagine this guy would use an attorney to fight the gate when the property itself is abandoned.
I agree with your assessment. You are not interfering with the easement that the homeowner even needs since it is for emergency access only. It is clear that he is doing this since he does not want to spend the money to get his driveway back to a usable condition. Of course the money that you spent on that makes the property look better as opposed to a driveway with nothing but overgrown weeds. I still do not see where you have done anything wrong at this point. If that easement is for emergency access only, it would be up to either the fire department or police department or ambulance department to try to contact you with regards ***** ***** easement being blocked.
You may want to respond to the letter that they have sent. I would give them the same words that are contained in the letter. The letter clearly states that that back part of the property was an easement granted to the city of Palm Springs for emergency travel. Not day today travel by either homeowner. I do think that you are in the right on this one. Again, as I see it, it is the city of Palm Springs who is the one that can enforce the easement as it was given to them and not to the neighbor. At the end of the day it is not about getting sued but whether or not you would lose a suit. I do not think in my opinion that you would lose if the neighbor sues you. The city of Palm Springs would be a different story.
If you do think that this could turn into litigation, then I think you should contact the city of Palm Springs and talk to the zoning officer to let them know what you have done with regards ***** ***** emergency easement and the gate. There may be something that you can work out with the city which would allow them access via the opening of the gate so that there are easement will not be restricted. At the end of the day the easement is with the city and not the other homeowner.
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