do i have water rights?

My brother-in-law recently sold his property above us. When he was living there he gave us water rights by letting us tye into his well. We have been getting our water from here for 20 years now. I have paid the bill on it and the power pole is in my late husbands’ name. Now someone has bought the property and claims he can cut my water off without warning and my question is can he do that? Do I have any rights in this situation?

Asked on October 29, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

IF you have an actual easement on the neighboring property--i.e. a restriction on its deed--that is enforceable against the purchaser: easements are perpetual and travel or go with the land, from one owner to another.
But if a formal easement was never created, then your brother-in-law simply gave you a "license" or permission to tie into his well. That sort of permission is personal to him: it does not affect or bind any subsequent owners. It it would be like if you had a backyard pool and had allowed your neighbors to use it in exchange for them paying pool maintenance costs--your personal agreement with them would not require the person to whom you sold your house to forever let neighbors use the pool. So without an easement, and even if you paid bills in the future, the new owner can deny you the water.


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