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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – How An Easement Can Turn Your Neighbor Into Your Enemy

The idea behind an easement is good- you grant your neighbor the right to do something on your property that allows him to enjoy his property. Common example- you allow him to drive over a portion of your property to get to his. Both of you know where you mean to let him cross, he’s a good guy and won’t abuse the privilege, so you aren’t very specific on where the easement is located. But what if, after the properties have each been sold several times, a later owner decides he needs to use more of your property to get to his place?

This just came up in a case of mine. The deed granting the easement was fairly specific as to its dimensions, but it referred to a plat that could be interpreted to expand the easement to include all of the original easement grantor’s property. Not only did the parties end up in court, but my client was threatened with violence when he told a worker employed by the other property owner that he could not drive across my client’s front lawn to get to the neighbor’s property.

Be careful to be specific as to the dimensions of any easement that you grant.

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