Q: My neighbor connected their water utilities to my water meter, what can I do?
I purchased a vacant lot that has a water meter on it. I'll call my property lot 1. That water meter was listed with the city for both lots 1 and lot 2 since the previous owner owned both lots, the water meter is physically on my property. However lots 1&2 are now owned by different people and lot 2 has tapped into the meter on my property because "the city allowed them to". The neighbor dug up a trench from lot 2 into my property and into my meter to set up water pipes. I purchased my land thru a title company, and my deed is for property (and any improvements). The neighbors deed is a deed without warranty and improvements are not listed. The city is saying that since the meter was previously listed for both lots, it's on a first-come-first-served basis. I believe this to be unfair especially with my deed. The water dept. has not responded to my email stating these facts, what else can I do? Water department is saying I have to pay for a new meter and other tapping fees.
A: It sounds like you have a trespass claim against your neighbor, and damages from any unrepaired trench on the property, as well as the cost of providing water to your neighbor, and possibly for the cost of installing a new water line and meter. Depending on the circumstances and expense, there may be several different approaches you could take with the situation. (For example, a suit for trespass, an injunction against their continued trespass and use of the water, negotiating a deal with your neighbor, which may or may not include an easement and payment of water costs, or simply turning off the water.) Talk to a lawyer in your area to determine the best course of action.
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