Do my neighbors have a legal obligation to pay half of the repairs to our shared lane?

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Do my neighbors have a legal obligation to pay half of the repairs to our shared lane?

I have a shared lane that is used by myself and the neighbors. Each of us have a easement stating that we must grant access to one another – nothing more, nothing less. Due to modifications my neighbors above me have made to their home and driveway, excessive water runs off of the property. It has damaged the lane to a point of needing extensive repair. I have asked that they pay half of the cost and presented them with several estimates and options for repair and what their half would be but they have refused.

Asked on September 26, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there is a mutual easement concerning the subject that that you have written about where your parcel and your neighbor's parcel have reciprocal right of way easements over the portion of each other's property for ingress and egress, you need to carefully read the terms and conditions of the written easement in that its terms and conditions control any and all obligations concerning repairs and maintenance (assuming such is mentioned in the document) in the absence of conflicting state law.

If there is no mention of maintenance and repairs in the written easement, under common law in all states, the person who holds the easement has the obligation to maintain it in good condition as well as repair it. If the other neighbor having use of it refuses to pay his or her half of the maintenance and repair for it, you have an equitable lien on his or her property for the portion in excess that you pay with accrued interest running from the date of sale.


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