Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

I am being challenged in rights to a spring that has been tied to a house I own and has serviced the house for about 150 years first documentation in 1881 by the pole family who owned the land before my family. Grandparents then took ownership not documenting the spring in which the US 101 ran though separating the house form the spring and generating 2 parcels. The water runs under the freeway to the house and when my dad inherited it he had his family who owned the parcel with spring sign a grant deed for the spring defining the size of the area indicating its service to the house but no clear defining actual location. That water serviced house up to 8 years ago in which a well was drilled on neighboring property the house is tied to that water source today but the right to the spring still in my dads name. I bought the home form my dad 3 years ago and had him grant deed the rights to the spring to my wife and as a back up water source. My family is selling the property with the spring today and trying to raise doubts to my rights to the spring based on Subdivision Map Act, 1977 agreement was to my parents names and the 2010 from my dad is from Williams family Trust, and the lack of specifics on location of pipes and spring. It is physically there and use can be proven so what can I do?

Asked on 9/21/13, 10:18 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

You need to visit a good real estate lawyer in your area and have the lawyer review all of the documents. That lawyer can then properly advise you of your rights and explain your options. This area of law can be complex and you should not try to handle this matter on your own. You may lose significant rights if not handled professionally and competently.

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Answered on 9/21/13, 10:49 am

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

I agree with Mr. Hoffman and would add a couple of additional comments: (1) It seems very doubtful that the Subdivision Map Act would diminish your rights to the spring. (2) Your right to the spring water might be less than a fee ownership in the land area where the spring is situated, but would not be less than an easement; (3) Who is raising the questions and doubts about your rights to the spring, a buyer? What legal expertise do they have? (4) Failure to describe the spring's location specifically is probably not important; (5) For the future, especially if the parcels are to become separately owned, you should have a professional survey made and recorded, with some cross-reference between the survey and the deed to your dad.

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Answered on 9/21/13, 3:20 pm

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