Shared well, what are our rights and are the others entitled to any?

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Shared well, what are our rights and are the others entitled to any?

About 4 years ago I purchased a property that had previously been made up of 2 tracks of land each with a house sharing a well. The agent I bought it from resold it it as 2 separate tracts and included an agreement in the deed about the well. She assumed the well was on the other property and gave us well rights in the deed. We have had trouble with the well agreement and the other owners being completely uncooperative, they rent the place out so it stays vacant a lot which poses many problems. I have recently spoke with the lady the sold the property to the agent I bought it from and was talking about the trouble we are having with the well, and she informed me that the well is actually on my property not the other property so it is our well. I did some digging and actually got a copy of the survey and plat map made when the property lines where done for the 2 tracks and it clearly shows the well being well within out property and our line even cuts off the corner of their circle drive. My question is do they have any rights to the well since there is no agreement stating they can have water because it was assumed the well was on their land. Can I send them a letter saying the well is on our property and they have a specific amount of time to get their own water source before we cut them off? I normally would try to work something out with them but anytime there is a problem they tell us we just need to drill our own well. I have my suspicions the owner knows its our well and is trying to use it long enough where we can’t cut him off. Is there hope we can have a clean break from sharing the well? If so what is our next step?

Asked on December 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

Michael D. Siegel / Siegel & Siegel, P.C.

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is what we lawyers like to call "a big mess", caused by the agent.  First, you cannot just divide a property in a deed.  There needs to be separate tax lots and this usually requires a subdivision approval by the locality.  Did you do this, or have this?  Additionally, there are title issues that may be covered in your title policy.  The "after the fact" survey work is odd.  This should have been done at the time of purchase, and be mentioned in your policy.  You may have a claim.  Finally, the deed likely prevents you from just cutting someone off, without a lawsuit.  I would be willing to review these issues with you.


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