Lafayette, CA asked in Real Estate Law for California

Q: Utility company has equipment on my land w/o proper easement. Can I get rent for space or make them move said equipment

The water utility has 3 large water tanks on my land. They own 1/2 acre above me on the hill but their land is very steep so I assume the last owner of my property allowed them to use his land. I know the utility has an easement on my land to access their equipment for repairs but no where did I sign anything that they could store equipment on my land. I've owned the land for 9 months and I just realized where the property lines actually are by looking up at my county clerk assessors office. The location of the tanks is one of very few flat spots on this hill and I could make good use of it if the tanks were moved else where. Could I make them move the tanks or at least make it worth while by charging them space rent

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1 Lawyer Answer
Gerald Barry Dorfman
Gerald Barry Dorfman
  • Mill Valley, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Theoretically you can. Unfortunately for you, there are other possible explanations for the location of the tanks. Some first steps: If you have not already done so, read the title report very carefully. Review the written disclosures given to you in connection with the sale by the seller. Check to be sure no eminent domain action was brought. Check to be sure no action for inverse condemnation was brought. Hopefully you have good title insurance. If everything still checks out in your favor, check with the utility to see if any kind of license or other written agreement exists.

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