Who is responsible if a party buys a home and later discovers that the well is on the neighbor’s land?

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Who is responsible if a party buys a home and later discovers that the well is on the neighbor’s land?

I sold a property 7 years ago. We drilled a well on the property. The current owners have discovered that the well is actually on the neighbor’s property and they do not own any well. The neighbor had a survey done and that is how this mistake was discovered. Are we responsible, as the original well drillers and owners of the property? Are we liable because we unknowingly sold a home that legally had no well on the property? Or is this now a problem for the new home owner?

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is certainly a problem for the new owner--assuming the neighbor is correct, the new owner will need to relocate the well and pay to cap, backfill (or whatever is appropriate) the old well.

You write that you sold the land 7 years ago...since the statute of limitations in PA for written contracts is only 4 years, other than those "under seal" (which the typical RE sale contract is not), it is likely too late for the new owners to sue you. The statute of limitations for trespass and similar causes of action appears to be 2 years, so it's probably too late for the neighbors to take action directly against you, either.


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