I purchased a duplex in Oct 07 in Tennessee which included an easement in the deed for a gravel driveway. The easement is surveyed as 30' wide with 15' her side, 15' my side, but the 15' wide driveway sits squarely on her 15' easement not mine. The duplex sits halfway down a hillside and is accessed by the prescribed driveway which crosses the neighbors property at the top of the hill where the county road meets her property.
The gravel is almost completely washed away (mud road), and the erosion is causing the entire hillside to collapse...right into the duplex. It is endangering my structure and my right of way. I've spoken to the neighbor and she says that I am not allowed to improve the driveway because it belongs to her (can't even trim overhanging trees so that my car can fit). She said she went to a lawyer before I purchased the property to see if she could force the previous duplex owner to build a driveway from the backside of the property where it meets the county road but is ridiculously steep (hence the original reason for the easement) and that she would fight to get me off of the driveway. The previous owner rented to unpleasant people so I can understand how she became so irritated, but I renovated it to attract a better renter. She admitted that she tried to purchase the property but couldn't get the financing so I suspect she is being vindictive. I don't want things to get nasty, but I need to know my rights so I can prevent further erosion.
Q1: Do I have right to maintain driveway, even on her side of easement?
Q2: Can I re-grade the driveway, re-dig the culvert, re-gravel to prevent the damaging erosion?
Q3: Is she legally required to maintain the driveway (at least 1/2)?
Q4: Can I pave it to prevent erosion, even though the deed says "gravel"?
Q5: Does she have a leg to stand on legally for requiring me to build a new $10,000 driveway from the backside of the property?
I appreciate all of your help...