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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2

    Angry Deliberate and Malicious Damage to Easement

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Utah

    We have a 25`right-of-way easement on a gravel road that gives us access to our family farm. Whenever we try to maintain the easement by grading and smoothing the "washboards" out of it, the land owner and her kids deliberately drive their 4 wheelers up and down it doing donuts and generally just tearing it up. She says she has the right to do this since it is her property and we need to ask for her permission before we do any work to maintain it. Otherwise they never use the easement since they have a private driveway. This easement was established years before they built on the property and the language is clear as to the purpose and rights granted by the easement. We have also purchased an additional 25` easement abutting and running parralell with the 1st easement. (City requirement) In the past they have also placed large boulders on their property line essentially splitting our easement in two. Now they have informed us that they are putting a fence up on their property line which would, again, split our easement in two. What are my legal rights here? Can I have them cited for tearing up the road as vandalism or criminal mischief? Can I remove the fence they are planning on installing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,376

    Default Re: Deliberate and Malicious Damage to Easement

    Sounds like a possible case of trespassing on your easement.

    They can put up a fence on their side of the easement but cannot split an existing deeded easement which restricts any of your deeded rights.

    Get a local attorney, or a non-local attorney if you can't find a local one who understands easements, to advise you and to write the neighbors a letter explaining what will happen to their fence, their kids, and their four wheelers if they persist in vandalism and trespass.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    299

    Default Re: Deliberate and Malicious Damage to Easement

    Quote Quoting LandSurveyor
    View Post
    They can put up a fence on their side of the easement but cannot split an existing deeded easement which restricts any of your deeded rights.
    Isn't it actually two separate 25' easements according to the OP's post? It was stated that they had a 25' easement and then purchased another 25' easement from a separate property owner. Since the OP owns both does that mean they can be considered as a single entity?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,644

    Default Re: Deliberate and Malicious Damage to Easement

    I doubt that the easement (at least the 25' on the property of the problematic servient estate) is exclusive, such that the owner of the land would be 'trespassing' by using the easement, but it's difficult to imagine that deliberate abuse, obstruction and damage to the easement would not be actionable. If the local government requires the easement to be 50' wide, they (or the presumed principal beneficiary of that width, the fire department) may be willing to take action against somebody who is obstructing the full width of the easement. If the local government won't act it may be necessary to go to court and get an injunction.

    It would be helpful to know the exact granting language of the easement.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Deliberate and Malicious Damage to Easement

    Thanks for the responses. I've tried to be neighborly about this but they don't seem to understand what an easement is.

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