Easement Questions - Posted by Michael A. Bardelli

Posted by Frank Chin on February 12, 2002 at 20:01:07:

Hi Michael A. Bardelli:

I’m not rendering a legal opinion, but just to mention that I have a telephone distribution box mounted on the back wall of a rental. This distribution box serves the entire row of attached MF units, somewhat similar to your townhouse setup.

I don’t recall any utility easements mentioned in any of my contracts either. However, they had done work on it from time to time, and I received letters from the utility informing me of upcoming service calls, with on or about dates, with the telephone number of the project manager to call if I had any questions.

I usually get these letters several weeks ahead of time.

You might want to call your utility about their procedures, and the law. Its possible that the previous owner may have gotten the letters as you just took over. I vaguely recall there are laws in New York state allowing cable companies to run cables and install equipment, and landlords cannot object, thus giving them an easement. The law was passed after some landlords blocked cable crews from installing equipment.

Frank Chin

Easement Questions - Posted by Michael A. Bardelli

Posted by Michael A. Bardelli on February 12, 2002 at 12:04:15:

To all,
I have recently purchased a town house as my personal residence. No where in my contract were utility easements mentioned. It wasn’t until after closing that we found out about the easements when workmen begain trespassing on our backyard to put the utility boxes in. Now there are 3 utility boxes in my yard. We don’t mind the boxes being there but we don’t want the workmen trespassing on our property without our permission. I guess the question would be as follows: Are the workmen allowed to just enter our property without permission simply because they have a utility easement or are the required to obtain our permission by making an appointment with us prior to coming by and performing work? We understand that they will need to perform work from time to time on the boxes and we are prepared to give them the access that they need. However, if they refuse to get our permission can we have them charged with criminal trespassing or file a civil suit against the company for harassment or to have the boxes removed from our property since we never agreed to have them there in the first place? Any advice would be good.
Michael A. Bardelli
A confused Real Estate Investor

Re: Easement Questions - Posted by Mark (Atl)

Posted by Mark (Atl) on February 14, 2002 at 08:52:13:

I work for a real estate developer, building multifamily projects. Whenever we build a new project there are easements signed with all the utility companies giving them the right to come onto the property to maintain, construct, etc their utility lines.

My guess is that they have a valid easement with the developer of the property, which should have been shown on your survey when you closed the property. If they are a reasonable utility company (oxymoron) they should be willing to give you notice when they intend to access the property, unless it is an emergency, but they do not have to.