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  1. #1
    j00fek is offline Junior Member
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    Driveway/Easement Dispute - Maine

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? MAINE

    a problem has been festering for a while now with our neighbors. about 6 years ago the drive way in between the two houses was shared by both party's. something happened while i was away at school and they happened to kick out my mother from parking in said driveway. (see pic here [url]http://martel.aaron.googlepages.com/pic.JPG[/url] )

    once they kicked my mother out they had the driveway tared, and it happens to slop into our land and into our foundation. during heavy rain it noticeably flows toward our foundation and onto our land. now that snow is here their plow driver puts the snow onto our land as well.

    an easement was written into the deed upon my mother buying the house in 1997. (see pic here [url]http://martel.aaron.googlepages.com/pic.JPG[/url] )

    the land will be re surveyed in the spring and the city code enforcement officer will be called and everything will be brought to his/her attention upon inspection.

    i know i will not get concrete answers here but, i would just like to know if i am taking the right coarse of action to get my land back and hopefully put up a 10ft fence to block them...

    thanks
  2. #2
    HuAi is offline Member
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    Your picture contains the easement description which references an earlier deed from 1996. Can you get that deed from public records at your county registrar and post the exact verbiage of the easement? It's possible that your neighbors are not allowed to improve the easement by taring it.
  3. #3
    j00fek is offline Junior Member
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    this is from the neighbors deed... "The interest conveyed herein is an appurtenant easement permitting these grantees, their heirs and assigns to use the above described parcel for all purposes for which a driveway is normally used, benefiting the above referenced property of the grantees lying to the east. This easement shall run with the land and be binding on the grantor, her heirs and assigns. The rights conveyed herein also includes the right of the grantees, their heirs and assigns, at their own expense, to pave whatever portion of the area described herein they might wish"

    i understand that they can tar the driveway and they have to maintain it, the dispute is are they past the 10ft easement in taring the parcel that they did. there is not more than 6in in some spots up to my foundation and their run off goes right onto my property and into the foundation due to a slope in the driveway.

    as you can see by the lines on the picture i posted, it seems to me that the tarred driveway is on 3/4 of my land and is bigger than 10ft.
  4. #4
    j00fek is offline Junior Member
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    bump for more help
  5. #5
    HuAi is offline Member
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    Based on the plat drawing and the easement it appears that your neighbors are the dominant tenants on the section of the driveway located on your property. Check the deed from 1996 and your deed to see if there is a corresponding easement for you to use their part of the driveway.

    If there is not, this is not a shared driveway, but in fact, their driveway. Your mom may not be able to park there any longer unless she gets permission from the neighbors to cross their land.

    As far as damage to your house - document it, get an estimate to repair it, and take the neighbors to small claims court. Also follow up with city inspector as you are doing.
  6. #6
    j00fek is offline Junior Member
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    by looking at all the paperwork, it seems like the orig owner put this easement in right as she sold the property to my mother, and she signed a affidavit, saying there is an easement on this land. there is no corresponding easement for us to use the driveway. so basically we are paying for the neighbors to park on our land, thank you american government!
  7. #7
    154NH773 is offline Member
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    there is no corresponding easement for us to use the driveway. so basically we are paying for the neighbors to park on our land, thank you american government!
    There are several things wrong with your logic. Your mother purchased the property knowing (or should have known) that it was burdened with a right of way. How is that the government's fault?

    You may be able to ask for a property tax reduction for the portion of property that lies under the right of way. That property has no value to you or any future purchaser of your property and should not be taxed at the per-square-foot rate of the residential property, or should reduce your total property value by some amount. (In that case - Yea government)

    Everyone reading this post should learn that an easement is just what the OP described; you own the property, but others have rights that may be greater than yours. For that reason, you should never buy property burdened or dependent on an easement until you understand what it is you are buying.
  8. #8
    drewguy is offline Member
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    From what you've posted, it appears that your neighbors have a valid easement over a 10ft strip of land for use as a driveway. If they've gone past that in paving, then they've trespassed, or at least caused you some damage that they are responsible for fixing (i.e., remove the tar). The terms of the easement are unclear as to how far along that line they can go. On one hand, it suggests the whole length of that border (the easterly borer). On the other hand, it's for a driveway, so that suggests it should only go so far as needed for accessing their garage.

    As for your use, or your mother's use, there is nothing stopping her from using the driveway to the extent it is on her land. She doesn't have an easement for driving on their land, but if she paves her portion all the way to the road, and it's wide enough for her (say the entire 10 feet), then she can legally drive there. She can't park in a way so as to block them, however (nor could they block her).

    Is it possible to negotiate this all with the neighbors? Surely that will be a better approach than fighting, if possible. Tell them you know they have an easement, but that you also have a right to use the driveway so long as it's on your land.
  9. #9
    j00fek is offline Junior Member
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    thanks for all the reply's, it is appreciated.

    i had a talk with my mother last night and she reflected on the signing of the affidavit when she bought the house. she knew this all along and never told me so my basis was wrong all along.

    i am thinking of buying this property and im doing my homework right now. 154NH773, when you say you could get a property tax break on the land, would you start at the city's assessment office.? thats what im thinking...

    again thanks for the reply's and ill update this thread after i get the property re-surveyed this spring and the city code enforcement officer comes to have a look at the driveway along with the easement.
  10. #10
    154NH773 is offline Member
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    154NH773, when you say you could get a property tax break on the land, would you start at the city's assessment office.?
    That would probably be the best place to start. They can probably steer you in the right direction. In my state you must file an appeal of your taxes between certain times of the year. There may be a cutoff if you wait too long, and you'll have to wait until next year.

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