Q: If easement bridge is destroyed may I as dominant tenement completely rebuild it, at my expense?
My landlocked residence has an appurtenant easement to cross adjacent undeveloped property to access the public road. A bridge over a creek is part of the easement path. I am the only private user of the easement. The path and bridge serve only my home. The servient tenement property owner never uses the easement as the land is undeveloped. Therefore the duty and cost of easement maintenance is 100% my obligation. If the bridge needs maintenance, repairs or improvements to allow safe passage for myself and third parties, such as invitees and public service vehicles including police cars and fire trucks, it is my duty to do that work at my expense. As I have the duty to maintain the bridge, I also have the right to do necessary safety maintenance, repairs, improvements and in the event the bridge is destroyed by natural causes, I have the right and duty to completely rebuild it, at my sole expense. Is that correct? Is there MI case law to support dominant tenement rebuilding a bridge?
A: It appears as if you're looking for legal representation. This forum is for answering general questions rather than specifics, and the NATURE of the easement matters a great deal so no 'general answer' is going to get you what you want. As for case law, again, you need to hire an attorney, but this is a matter of law that goes back a LONG way. Indeed the 1909 Michigan supreme court case, Moore v White stands for the proposition that the dominant estate’s owner must repair and maintain the easement for its use. The obligations of the servient estate’s owner is not so obvious, but if he doesn't use the easement, it could well be he has no obligation other than to allow the repair.
If you're looking for specific legal advice however, I would urge you to consult with a local licensed real estate attorney. This is a VERY complicated fact-dependent situation and you'd be ill advised to just take some random advice off the internet!
-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.
I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice
Michael Zamzow agrees with this answer
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