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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Utility Easement vs Property Rights

    The west side of our property in California has a 15' vehicle easement, which is also being used by the water company as a utility easement. Unknown to us until recently, that water main takes a turn and traverses the middle or our property, to bring water to our neighbors on the east side. The deed does not include an easement for that water main, and I suspect it is now a legal prosciptive easement since it has been in place for over 10 years.

    However, the local water company wants to put the neighbors water meter on the utility easement, on our property. I do not want this. There are two other options: 1) The water company can run a tributary along the front road for about 100', and then extend that line to the neighbors house. Obviously this involves cost they do not want to accept. 2) Use the existing line crossing our property and put the meter at the end of it, on the neighbors own property.

    Since I doubt we can get the line moved from our property (let me know if Im wrong here), option #2 makes the most sense for everyone. The issue is simply where to locate the meter, and there is no reason why the copmpany cannot put it directly on the neighbors property.

    So can we prevent the water company from locating the neighbor's meter on our property ? What are our options ?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Utility Easement vs Property Rights

    It sounds like the line through your property is a service line. If that is the situation, you probably want to try to get it removed. Normally, the line from the meter to the house does not belong to the water company but to the homeowner. In reality the water company can usually do whatever it wants since they have the power of eminent domain.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,437

    Default Re: Utility Easement vs Property Rights

    Quote Quoting lwpat
    View Post
    It sounds like the line through your property is a service line. If that is the situation, you probably want to try to get it removed. Normally, the line from the meter to the house does not belong to the water company but to the homeowner. In reality the water company can usually do whatever it wants since they have the power of eminent domain.

    Good point...it may indeed be the neighbor who has the easement, not the utility.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Utility Easement vs Property Rights

    Quote Quoting lwpat
    View Post
    It sounds like the line through your property is a service line. If that is the situation, you probably want to try to get it removed. Normally, the line from the meter to the house does not belong to the water company but to the homeowner. In reality the water company can usually do whatever it wants since they have the power of eminent domain.
    Yes, the line through my property is a service line to the neighbor's house, and I have been advised in other forums that based on the linght of time, this is a valid prescriptive easement. So I do not expect to get it removed.

    The point about the water co owning the line from the meter to the house is one reason, I believe, they want to put the meter it on my property, rather on the neigbor's. If the neighbor's meter is on my property the water co need only walk their easement to read mine and others further down. But to put the neighbor's meter on their own property, would require the water co to walk on thier property, without an easement, to read it. But neighbor gives them permission - no big deal.

    So the question is whether the water co can put someone else's meter on my property. The regular utility easement on my property does NOT apply to the neighbor, except for the prescriptive portion running across my lot.

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