Sacramento, CA asked in Real Estate Law and Land Use & Zoning for California

Q: I have a deeded easement across my neighbors property to my property. What expectations for maintenance can I expect?

Access consists of @ 300 feet of dirt road. During this winter neighbor's use created ruts and mud puddles which has made access to my property challenging if not impossible during rain and snow season. The neighbor lives on property full time and I use my property recreationally 2-4 times per month. No specific maintenance agreement currently exists. How can I create a legally binding agreement and what expectations should I have regarding maintenance based on amount of use or damage done by individual parties. Is it reasonable to not want to pay for repairs required by neighbors use.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If there is no specific maintenance agreement in place, you may want to consider negotiating a maintenance agreement with your neighbor to address your concerns. The agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties to be legally binding.

In general, the owner of the easement has a right to use the easement for the intended purpose, which in this case is access to your property. However, the owner of the easement also has a responsibility to maintain the easement in a manner that does not interfere with the neighbor's use of their property. This means that both parties should work together to ensure that the easement is maintained in a way that allows for safe and convenient access to your property without causing damage to the neighbor's property.

If the neighbor's use of the easement is causing damage or making access difficult, you may want to discuss a plan for maintenance with the neighbor. This plan could include regular grading or other maintenance activities to ensure that the road remains in good condition. You may also want to discuss the possibility of sharing the costs of maintenance, based on the amount of use by each party or the amount of damage caused by each party.

Ultimately, the specifics of any maintenance agreement will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation, and it may be advisable to consult with an attorney or mediator to help you negotiate an agreement that works for both parties.

Yelena Gurevich agrees with this answer

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