No easement and neighbor threatening legal action if I don’t grant temporary access

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No easement and neighbor threatening legal action if I don’t grant temporary access

We have a dirt road on our property that has been used by a farmer to access farmland behind ours and there is no easement. We have never given the farmer permission but we have never tried to stop him either. The owner of the farmland has decided to build on the land and has secured an easement on our neighbor’s property. He is in the process of constructing his driveway on this easement for access to his land. He wants to use our road until the end of the year for dump trucks and equipment related to the construction of his driveway. We have put a gate up and told him we don’t want anymore traffic on our road because he and the farmer have already caused substantial damage to our road. We are allowing the farmer to get the rest of his hay out but that is it. The land owner’s attorney is threatening legal action if we don’t grant him access. We are trying to come to an agreement and receive compensation plus reimbursement for road grading. What are my rights? Should I try to come to an agreement with his attorney or would it be best to have an attorney represent me in this situation?

Asked on October 2, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Idaho

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

You describe a situation that has to worth many thousands to several tens of thousands of dollars: not just the "rent" (so to speak) for his and his contractors access to your property, but the repairs and re-grading caused by what we presume would be heavy equipment moving through your property. Plus there is the possibility of debris removal (if they dump anything on your land) or remediation (if anything toxic or harmful, including oil or gasoline from trucks or other equipment is deposited) being required, meaning there should be money escrowed for those costs. There is the possibilty of liability--what if their trucks hit someone on your property, or one of your vehicles, or hits your gate or fence? Or if their trucks so damage your road that you or a visitor damage your own car on a rut they caused? You'll need to make sure there is insurance for that. And what about controlling access--shouldn't you put reasonable limits on when they can drive through your land and make noise, such as not after 9pm or before 6am, or not on weekends and holidays, etc. In short, there is a lot of money potentially at stake, and a lot more issues, continencies, and complexities to address than may seem at first glance. Hire a lawyer to help you.


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