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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bronxville, NY
    Posts
    1

    Default Liability and Responsibility for Maintenance of an Easement

    I live on a parcel of land that is "landlocked", i.e. has no direct access to the street. The property came with an easement over my neighbors property, for purpose of ingress and egress to my property, and that easement was recorded in the deed.

    Unfortunately the easement simply specifies the boundaries of the easement and the purpose. It does not specify who is responsible for maintenance.

    Roughly 80 feet of the driveway serves both my neighbor and me (i.e. from the street to my neighbors garage), and the driveway then extends an additional 10 feet or so until it reaches my property. (At that point the driveway continues, but it is on my property and not related to the easement.)

    For years I have shoveled the driveway of snow (primarily because my neighbor uses the house mostly on weekends and isn't always around when it snows). In the past I have agreed with my neighbor to split the cost of larger maintenance, such as re-graveling the driveway.

    Recently there has been erosion, caused by rain, and one side of the driveway has eroded badly into an adjacent stream. This has created a clearly hazardous condition.

    This is on the 10' section of driveway that I use, that is past my neighbors garage.

    I have three questions:

    1 - Who is financially responsible for repairing the erosion and restoring the driveway to usable condition?

    2 - Who is liable if someone were to be injured while legally using the easement over my neighbors property?

    3 - Does my neighbor have an obligation to preserve my easement? i.e. He claims that I can use it "as is" (his words, NOT included in the easement), and has implied that if erosion causes the driveway to become unpassable, then that is simply too bad.

    P.S. I have made several good faith offers, including splitting the costs 50/50 and even recently offering to pay 100% of the costs. However he has refused these offers unless I go further and take responsibility for any damage to adjacent hedges, which strikes me as pretty frivolous since I am offering to pay to maintain his property.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,332

    Default Re: Liability and Responsibility for Maintenance of an Easement

    1 - Who is financially responsible for repairing the erosion and restoring the driveway to usable condition?
    It is possible that no one is responsible. As you are the dominant tenant, and wish to use the easement regularly, you may have to bear the full expense.

    2 - Who is liable if someone were to be injured while legally using the easement over my neighbors property?
    You will need a local attorney familiar with New York case law to answer this.

    3 - Does my neighbor have an obligation to preserve my easement? i.e. He claims that I can use it "as is" (his words, NOT included in the easement), and has implied that if erosion causes the driveway to become unpassable, then that is simply too bad.
    He has an obligation to respect your rights in the easement. It is generally held that the grant of an ingress egress easement includes the right to maintain it to at least the minimum standard needed for vehicular ingress and egress. That would include grading, drainage, possibly gravel, probably not pavement. If erosion makes it unpassable, you probably have a right to correct that.

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