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Mary, Home Buyer in South Turpin Hill, A...

I own property with 2 wells and the house next door owners has rights to the well before we bought it our ded

Asked by Mary, South Turpin Hill, Augusta, GA Sat Apr 5, 2008

does not show any right to the well the neighbors does do we still have to give her right and are we responsible for fixing anything

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Thank you Matt. I certainly appreciate your support. I'm sure I over stepped my bounds as I am not a licensed attorney and am not at liberty to offer legal advise without a strict disclaimer. So Mary with each addtional tidbit of info offered I must strongly suggest that you consult with a real estate attorney to resolve your dilemma so that the qauality of your life can be the best it can be. Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 8, 2008
Your question can be viewed as very complicated and you should consult an attorney for more specific advise. However, I can offer my educated opinion regarding your situation. First of all you need to see if the neighbors have any signed and dated deeds showing that they have an express easement or grant allowing them the use of the well located on your land. If so, they may have legal rights to the well even if it is not recorded but signed by your father.

Another rule is, depending upon the state, the length of time the neighbor has been using this well without your written permission. If the neighbor has been using the well on your property for at least 5 years, you have known about their continued use but never restricted their actions then an easement by prescription may have been created. This type of easement does not need to be in writing as it is both an implied easement as well as an easement of necessity.

As far as maintenance of the well - as long as you are not using the well for your own purposes, then you should not have an obligation to maintain or repair it for the easement holders (neighbors).

Now if you should find out that the access to the well is in writing but by license or for a defined period of time then access may be revokable. It depends upon the terms in the license or contact and also if the neighbors have put substantial financial commitment in the reliance of the easement.

That's the best I can do!

There are many other factors and variables that apply that may change my opinion of your position regarding the use of this well but I am not trained in that area of real estate law and you are strongly encouraged to contact a real estate attorney for further advise. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 5, 2008
Hi Mary, it sounds like you think that the neighbor somehow lost her right to the water because the house next door was not used for 2 years. If she has a deeded right, nonusage will most likely not affect her right, but you really have to check with an attorney who will have to research the title and find out who has what rights. Your other question about responsibility to fix something will also depend on what rights the neighbor has. Some rights come with the responsibility and the right to maintain the equipment. Since you mention that the neighbor has an access easement to the well, this would indicate that she can dig trenches and put pipes in and access the well for maintenance purposes. Once the attorney has determined what rights the neighbor has, he/she will also be able to tell you who has the responsibility to maintain the well. If the neighbor has water rights and you did something to the well to interfere with those rights, you could be the one responsible to fix it. As you can see, the answer to your question depends on the facts of your situation and only an attorney can evaluate those facts an tell you what the law is based on your set of facts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
Ute Ferdig -…, Real Estate Pro in New Castle, DE

Sounds like a legal question to me. Certainly, not one I would trust to agents in an online format. Talk to a Real Estate attorney (specifically a Real Estate Attorney) about the matter. You don't want to leave it to chance.
Web Reference: http://www.jrjarvis.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
Joshua Jarvis, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA
I had a listing once on a house that had rights to the neighbors well, but when the neighbor refused to allow my listing access there was really no choice but to drill our own well. The neighbor cut the power to the pump and cut off the water to our house. Shared wells are common in rural areas and work fine as long as everyone cooperates, and the well doesn't go dry.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Apr 6, 2008
I did see the deed the neighbor had dated 2004 stating she has water right and easement right to well. BUT no one had lived there for the 2 yrs we have had this property. She (The neighbor) wants the rights so she can rent the house out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 5, 2008
Wow, Diane's answer is really awesome! And right on the money.
Even if it's not it writing, it might still be very valid if they have had access for many years.
She's also right about the fact that you really need a great real estate attorney
to work out the details. You can talk with Joe O'Kelley.
His firm is one of the best and largest in Atlanta.
O'Kelley & Sorohan 770.497.1880
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Apr 5, 2008
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