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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Right of Way Easement in Pennsylvania

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Pennsylvania
    I have a private lane that runs through my property. In the past the land locked owner has asked to maintain and do other work. it's about 11 feet wide and now the user wants to make it wider to suit their needs. Can someone direct me to the specific Pa codes dealing with width of right of ways. Also, I've researched the dead for the past 100 years and there is no right of way shown. Any help would be great.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Right of Way Easement in Pennsylvania

    Well, that's interesting. Usually it falls to the person who benefits from the easement, known as the dominant estate, to maintain the easement as far as it being usable. At their expense.

    Now as to widening it, whether they can do that or not depends on the record width of the easement. I know you just said you can't find record of it, but that doesn't mean it's not there. It could be an offsite appurtanant easement that appears in the neighbor's chain of title. It may also be found to have been created on a subdividing survey of the properties. Either way, it most likely came into existence when the properties were divided one from the other, so search diligently there. You may need to hire a para-legal or an abstractor to search for it.

    If it turns out to not exist anywhere in the record, then it will still exist by way of prescription, assuming it has been used as such for a long time, usually 20 years. Some states have a set width that presciptive easements are presumed to be, and some use the width of the improved or maintained area. I don't know which way PA addresses that. But if it turns out to be edge to edge of maintenance, then they may not have an automatic right to widen it.

    Stephen Calder (Land Surveyor, not a Lawyer)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Right of Way Easement in Pennsylvania

    Thanks for your input, I plan on returning to the court house and search more. I'm sure this ROW will fall under a presumed or prescribed ROW. That isn't the issue. The road has always been 11 feet wide, and now they want 30 feet. Do I not have any rights as the property owner? One other thing i'm looking for. What about private law? Outside this ROW, it's still my ground. Can I not impose "private law" I'm in the utility business and when I see posted signs about private law and land usage fees, I stay off.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Right of Way Easement in Pennsylvania

    30' sounds pretty wide to me for a private drive. But again, Pennsylvania probably has a presumed width for prescriptive easements or they may use the edge of maintained area to edge of maintained area. It varies from state to state. You will have to check out what the case is in PA. You may find it on the internet, or you may have to call a land surveyor or an attorney specializing in real estate law. If PA doesn't have a minimum presumed width of 30' for prescriptive easements then you may be able to just tell them no. Is there some special, compelling reason that they want it widened to 30'?

    I don't know what you mean by "private law". Thay may be something specific to your area.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Right of Way Easement in Pennsylvania

    Thanks again, I think i'll do better with a land surveyor then an attorney. As for private law, That would be my laws I impose on my private property. Land useage fees and such.

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