A debate over rights to use water from a spring on my property

I acquired title to 11.5 acres in Somerset County, Pa., approximately one year ago (March, 2008) from my father’s estate. Sometime prior to my father’s death, a neighbor had installed pipes to take water from a spring on my father’s property. The neighbor insists that because he’s been able to do this for seven years or more without being told to stop, he has the right to continue to do so. This was done without the knowledge of my father or I. We do not live on the unimproved land. Can the neighbor possibly be correct considering the underhanded nature of his act?

Asked on June 30, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I don't think so.  But I think it's very important that, now that you've found out about this, you act as soon as possible to assert your rights. Please see an attorney in Somerset County, PA, about this case, so you can get reliable advice, based on all of the facts, about what to do next.

I'm not a Pennsylvania attorney, but my research suggests rather strongly that the time requirement for a claim like your neighbor's is 21 years, not 7.  What he did was indeed underhanded, and you don't have to let him get away with it.


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