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  1. #1
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Mistake in Deed Regarding an Easement

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: California

    My new neighbor has declared the turn-around easement on his lot in our spur to be "null and void" and plans to use for his personal parking, making turnaround impossible for big trucks. The trucks then have to back out a couple hundred feet while negotiating a turn, or back onto wooden decks, which will damage them.

    I have researched his deed and think I see a mistake. His deed does not mention the turn-around easement, but only the road access and utility easement. The turn-around easement is listed in his lot description.


    The previous owner (a trust for the deceased owner) owned two lots, lets call them A and B. The turnaround was in lot B and was listed in the dead for lot B. The trustee then decided to sell lot A. Over the years, the back yard of lot A had expanded into lot B, but that was no concern because the lots were owned by the same person. So, the lot lines were adjusted so that the expanded backyard was completely in lot A. As a side effect, the turn-around easement area was moved to lot A. However, the deed for lot A was not adjusted to list the turn-around easement.

    Is this a mistake?
    Is the turn-around easement still valid?
    Is the title company required to fix this mistake if notified?
    If the new owner does not agree to sign a corrected deed, does it go to some kind of arbitration?
    Do I have to hire a lawyer to initiate and execute the correction process?
    Will i be creating an opportunity for him to invalidate the easement?


    Thanks for any info on this problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    An easement doesn’t have to be listed in a deed to be in effect. It could be recorded separately or even merely listed on a plat map recorded when creating a subdivision.

    An eassment that is stated as being appurtenant (runs with the land) remainns. It survives changes of ownership and even alterations of the lot it is originally on.

    in general, with few exceptions; it will be valid until the servient tenant relinquishes it.

    There is is no need to correct any deed. The easement is physically where the original grant has stated it is, regardless of changes of ownership of the servient tenement or changes to the servient tenement.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    Thanks, it is pretty clear that this is an appurtenant easement, but the word appurtenant does not appear in the deeds or lot description.

    Who is the servient tenant? Is it the owner of the lot? Or is it the jurisdiction (city planning department) that allowed the land to be subdivided and required the easements?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    The servient tenant is the party that owns the servient tenement. The servient tenement is the land that the easement lays upon.

    In this case, you are the dominant tenant (presuming the truck turn around was created to benefit the predecessor owner of your lot) . The land you own is the dominant tenement (the land the easement was created to benefit). The owner of the area the easement lays (originallly lot b but now by virtue of the lot line alteration, lot a) is the servient tenant. Originally lot B was the servient tenement but due to the fact the specifIc area the easement is and the line alteration, lot A has become the servient tenement.


    Of course this is with the comdition the easement was granted in such a way it continues to exist regardless of the line adjustment. Most standard wording of grants would be written such that the easement would remain in its original location.


    Do you have the original granting verbiage of the grant? If so you can post it. To preserve your anonymity, redact any info that would allow one to identify the specific property.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,137

    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    Quote Quoting babazaroni
    View Post

    Do I have to hire a lawyer
    If it's you that has to use the turn-around then, yeah, you are going to need a lawyer to enforce the easement against the neighbor.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    5

    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    Sounds like I need to find the original grant document. Most of the use of the turn-around is by drivers mistakenly thinking its a thru road and driving into the spur and by delivery trucks. It is helpful for the owners of the other lots to back into the turnaround from their lots and drive out, as well as keeping the vehicles turning around from backing onto the wooden decks of the other lots.

    JK, I'm still confused about the servient tenant. From your last response, it seems the current owner of lot A is the servient tenant. But you said in your first response that the servient tenant can relinquish the easement, causing it to go invalid. Thus he could relinquish it now. Did you mean the dominant tenant can relinquish?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    You wrote this previously

    The turn-around easement is listed in his lot description.
    Where did you see this description?

  8. #8
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    Probably more accurate to say 'the turn-around easement is plotted in his lot line adjustment document'.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    That map isn’t all clear to me but it appears the turn around easement was a platted easement and as such, it remains. I presume somewhere in the associated documents it states the easement is for the use of owners of lots within the development.

  10. #10
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    Apr 2019
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    Default Re: Mistake in Deed Regarding Easement

    The deed for parcel A states that the access easement is "a non-exclusive easement appurtenant to Parcel B, for ingress and egress by vehicles, pedestrians and animals", so not specific to the other lots. But all the other lots need the access easement to get to their lot.

    The deed for Parcel B, when it contained the turn-around easement, has no qualifiers. They just call it "Turn-Around Easement" and list it's survey points.

    I will try to locate the original grant.

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