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  1. #1

    Default Non-Exclusive Easement Rights by Two Property Owners

    My question involves an easement in the state of:Washington
    This is a rural community. I have a 60-foot "... non-exclusive easement for ingress, egress and utilities over, across and through ..." an adjoining property. My neighbor has the same wording in his deed for the same easement. The neighbor has begun constructing a fence which extends into the easement claiming that his "non-exclusive access" allows him to do so. The property that the easement runs across is owned by a third party (not involved). I have told the neighbor to remove the fence within 48 hours or I will remove it myself. My access would be reduce to a width of about 20 feet with the fence there. Am I within my rights to remove the fence? Not that it matters, but the neighbor is an attorney. Negotiation is out of the questions.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Non-Exclusive Easement Rights by Two Property Owners

    His "non-exclusive access" would prevent him from fencing the easement, not allow it. It's meaning is that the easement is not for him and him alone, it is for anyone. Further, he shouldn't be constructing anything on another person's land. Often, owners who share easements will find it necessary to put a gate across an easement. When this is reasonable it is usually allowed by the courts as long as easy access is afforded everyone who needs it, such as providing them keys or security codes. It doesn't sound like this is the case here, though. Bottom line, he can't do anything to interfere with your use of the easement. If leaving you only 20' of access interferes with your use of the easement, then he should be disallowed from doing it.
    All that being said, I wouldn't move the fence myself, if I were you, most especially if it is not on your land. I would seek a court order. Advantage to the attorney, but there it is.

    Stephen

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Non-Exclusive Easement Rights by Two Property Owners

    Quote Quoting Bounty Hunter 23
    View Post
    The property that the easement runs across is owned by a third party (not involved).
    Quite the opposite! The third party that owns the underlying property is involved as he is being fenced out of his property by the neighbor. The "non-exclusive" clause means that the underlying property owner(third party) can also use the easement as it's not set aside for the easement owners use only. But if it's being fenced then he is losing the use of that land. I'm not sure how it all works but if the fence is put up and left there long enough there is a chance that the "third party" could lose ownership of that part of his land.

    I suggest you contact the property owner and see if you can get them on your side in this fight. Normally in a situation like this a certified letter from a lawyer to the neighbor may be enough to stop the fencing, but since he is also a lawyer scare tacticts like this probably will not work which means you'll end up in court to stop it.

    P.S. Don't bother with the police, they will say it's a civil matter and wash their hands of the whole thing.

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