a question about easements in California.
If I have an easement road to access my property that is close to a river and the river is eroding the slope under the road in every high water: how much do I have to spend in protection and erosion control before I can request a new road or new alignment from the owner of the land the road is on?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Not the Eel, by any chance? I have an easement-accessed parcel near Eel Rock that I have owned for over 50 years. My research on this over the decades shows that there’s no formula, but courts will consider all factors and equities including apportionment of repair costs and realignment of the easement boundaries. The courts don’t want property owners to lose their access due to the forces of nature. On the other hand, they exercise some caution in creating or realigning easements unless they find a strong degree of necessity to preserve existing access.
You have two questions here. Mr. Whipple answered one, regarding realignment. The other is cost of repair/maintenance of the current alignment or replacement of the road on the current alignment. That cost is entirely on you. The owner of the benefited parcel is 100% responsible for maintaining the easement road unless there is joint and several benefit to several parcels, including the burdened parcel or not. So until the equities are such that a court would grant you a realignment or new easement, and excessive cost would be one factor in that, you will have to bear the cost of maintenance or even rebuilding the road.