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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    3

    Default Does Allowing a Phone Line Outside an Easement in Effect Create an Easement

    My question involves an easement in the state of: Colorado
    Hi everyone. This is my first post here. I have a question concerning an addition I'm building on my property. When we did locates for utility lines, we discovered a phone line to the neighborhood about 15 feet off the back of our house. This line was not very deep and was in the way of the addition's foundation. I had a title company search for easements, and they discovered that the easement was for the first 35 feet of our western boundary. The current location of the line is about 80 feet from our western boundary. We waited 4 weeks for a phone company engineer to show up to explain the situation and they said that we should try not to cut the line creating the foundation, but if we did, he would leave some cable so it could be quickly fixed. Well, we cut it twice over the course of our work and both times the initial crews claimed we would have to pay for the work, but after showing the higher ups (engineers) the easement deed, they quietly fixed the line and left. Our backyard has a large hill behind it (the easement is supposed to be near the top of this hill). We need to build a retaining wall now around the addition to keep the hill back. The line is in the way again. A friend at work said that I should send them a letter informing them the line is in the way and it isn't ok that the line remain there. He said he heard that if a homeowner knows of a utility line outside an easement and they let it pass, then an easement will become a matter of fact and we won't be able to get them to remove the line. I read on this forum that isn't the case and most likely they will need to sue us to get the easement. Did I read that correctly? Do I need to sue them to get them to move the line? I'm assuming since I haven't seen a bill for either incident where the line was cut that I'm liable for any expenses in repairing the line. I just don't want someone to claim that since I let it slide that now there is one right off the back of my house.
    Sincerely,
    Eric

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,576

    Default Re: Does Allowing a Phone Line Outside an Easement in Effect Create an Easement

    A friend at work said that I should send them a letter informing them the line is in the way and it isn't ok that the line remain there.
    You can try that. Sometimes utility easements were not recorded. Sometimes the original agreement for service included some form of easement or license allowing for the placement of the lines. Writing the letter will probably trigger an eventual response and you can evaluate that when you get it.

    How long have the lines been in the ground? How long have you owned the property?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Does Allowing a Phone Line Outside an Easement in Effect Create an Easement

    The easement was recorded in 1985 (same age as the house). Based on the fact that the lines travel right underneath a Cottonwood tree about a foot and half in diameter (which we cut down in order to prevent any issues with the addition and retaining wall), I'd say the line has been there that long. We've owned the property since 2003.
    Eric

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Does Allowing a Phone Line Outside an Easement in Effect Create an Easement

    Presumably this line is not for your house, correct?

    As to the line creating a easement: quite possibly. What you can do and they may actually accepting of it is to provide a license for the line currently in the ground right now with the stipulation that if it needs to be repaired within the licensed area it be removed to be fully within the easement. Along with that also that there be no additional lines run outside of the easement.


    honestly not sure what the phone companies issue is here. They are allowed underground spices and unless this is a fiber optic line or a line with many conductors but even then, not really that much additional work to simply dig it up where it leaves the easement and where it comes back into the easement and splice a new piece connecting those two points and bury the new splice within the easement.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Does Allowing a Phone Line Outside an Easement in Effect Create an Easement

    No the line isn't to our house. It is the main line to the entire side of the street. Our backyard isn't flat. It is flat for about 40 feet or so, then goes up an embankment for about 70 feet. They were supposed to be on the embankment. We see a utility box at the top of the embankment and there were two at the bottom, about 20 feet from our house, but along our property line. We always assumed the line went from the top of the hill down to the green boxes near our house. Those are the junctions to our house. One was for cable and the other phone. It was a great surprise to see the line went across our yard right in the middle of the flat part we're remodeling. As far as I can tell (we cut it twice), the phone lines are just multicolor copper lines and not fiber optic. I watched the repairman fix it. I think I will be sending them a letter stating I'm not giving up any of my rights to the property. I will tolerate the line in the short term, but not long term. They need to move it.
    Eric

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