If you own a pond and someone else owns land that butts up against the pond, does that mean they can use the pond?

UPDATED: May 29, 2011

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If you own a pond and someone else owns land that butts up against the pond, does that mean they can use the pond?

I own a large pond. My neighbor has land that’s right next to the pond. They seem to think that they can use the pond because they have access to it. I say they don’t because I’m the one that owns and pays the taxes on it as well as up keep. I don’t mind them using or enjoying the pond but they should have to ask for permission I would think? Am I correct? After all the pond is my property just as if it was land.

Asked on May 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Is your neighbor able to enter and exit his/her property without going through your pond?  If the answer is no, the neighbor may have an easement by necessity to go through the pond to enter and exit his/her property.  If the answer is yes, the neighbor should not be using the pond without your consent.

If the neighbor has reasonable alternatives for ingress and egress to his/her property and therefore does NOT have an easement by necessity, it would be advisable for you to restrict use of the pond by anyone because if there is an accident on the pond, as a landowner you would be liable for negligence for injuries incurred by the neighbor, a guest or a trespasser.

Another issue of concern is that if the neighbor continues using  your pond, sometime in the future the neighbor may have an ownership claim to your pond based on adverse possession.  In order for the neighbor to assert a claim to your pond based on adverse possession, the neighbor would have to satisfy the following requirements: continuous use, hostile use, open and notorious use of the pond  and actual use of the pond for the statutory period.  Hostile use means in derogation of the true owner's rights.  Open and notorious use means that you had notice of the use of the pond.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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