Before hopping straight to Civil Court I thought I’d post my story here and see if anyone has any information I’m missing out on, etc.
My family and I are dealing with an unfortunate easement issue. Before I get to the problem, let me give you a little background, just in case:
My grandparents have owned a large area of rural property outside our neighboring town for 30+ years. Of the land that was originally for sale, my grandfather purchased the lower portion of land and disregarded the upper area. During the land purchase an easement was deeded. It’s all official, it’s a road, with its own name and all the bells and whistles. The easement was created alongside the outermost portion of the property and allows us to travel through the upper area of land in order to access the purchased property.
Luckily, I have very wonderful grandparents and they’ve allowed myself (including my husband and child) and my mother (her husband, and my younger sibling) to all live on his property. He still maintains all the ownership of the property but we’ve each built and established our own homes throughout his land. We all use the deeded easement to access the property and branch out from there. On this particular easement there isn’t any over use. It allows access for our family as well as the neighbors up above.
After a duration of time the upper parcel of land was finally sold to two different families. Giving us an uppermost neighbor and a middle neighbor. Which was seemingly perfect for a while. Then the inevitable issues arose. Over a span of a few years we’ve encountered many problems involving the easement. Our uppermost neighbor believes he “owns” the easement. I looked into this and yes, the land he purchased is part of the easement. Of the quarter mile (give or take) easement his land over laps part of his property. But beings that it is an official easement he understands that he can’t deny us or the middle neighbor’s access.
Now on the issues:
Like I said this land is located in a rural area. Initially the easement was an uneasy looking dirt road. Which was really rocky and not very manageable. Because the road is a private easement it’s not county maintained and it got really ugly after years of use. My grandparents invested in having the entire easement/road paved. They paid to have the entire road professionally paved over thinking it would really benefit everyone who uses it. Including UPS, the power/gas companies who were having issues traveling down it. Our upper neighbor was furious about the paving. Which I personally don’t understand because it really was meant to be beneficial, but their entitled to their opinion on it.
As a re-buddle he has placed two speed bumps over the easement. Not your ordinary run of the mill speed bumps, these babies are huge. And because the easement isn’t very long the speed bumps are awkwardly spaced. When we asked him the reasoning behind the speed bumps he told us that because the road was now paved the traffic has increased and that our family as well as friends, and even the paper lady are driving too fast on “his” property.
Here’s where we’re having problems. The speed bumps are very inconvenient. In our neighboring town, the speed limit in family areas Is 25 mph. On our road it is now impossible to travel any more that 10-15 mph. Even so this is the least important of the issues, like I mentioned these bumps are large. Because of their size even traveling over them at the slowest speed possible has damaged our vehicles. I personally drive a Nissan Altima and regardless of my speed I bottom out/scrape HARD on those bumps. It’s damaged my paint job which really bothers me and I’m fearful of damaging anything else on my vehicle. My grandmother drives a Lincoln car and has very similar issues. Lincolns are long cars and regardless of the angle she takes or the speed she drives there’s no avoiding damage. We have family members and friends that now refuse to access the road do to the damage being made to their vehicles. My grandmother now actually walks up the road, leaving her vehicle at home, in order to meet her friends/family.
When we reached out to the middle neighbors they too are experiencing the same issues and want the bumps removed. We understand that our two families will most definitely have to work together on the topic. We all tried discussing the matter with the upper neighbor. When we confronted them about the damage and irregular size of the bumps he literally told us “tough s***” excuse me, but you get the point.
My grandfather asked me to dig into some research and find out more information on easement laws, etc. He’s not very tech savvy and figured I might get further on the research end. After some digging, and whole lot of reading, it’s my understanding that the upper neighbor shouldn’t make any changes to the easement, especially if it infringes on our use. Which it genuinely does… especially with the vehicle damage. And because of the neighbors attitude towards the situation we know that any sort of resolve will have to be legal.
I guess I’m just wandering if we have the rights to request their removal. The research I’ve done suggests yes. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks for your time!