Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

I own a piece of property, there is an easement for use by the seller, for ag and livestock. I believe that the documents were falsefied at the time of purchase, to include ingress, egress and appurtenence, where there physically is none. In addition to this, The seller, divided my property after I purchased it, so that there is a separate parcel that runs directly through where the "appurtenence" supposedly is and separates the my parcel from theirs by 25 feet, the full south to north length of the property. My questions are:

1. How do I get copies of the paperwork that divided the property, so I can find out if it were done prior to purchase of after?

2. Wouldn't the seperate parcel between the two original parcels void the easement?

There is no access to the easement from any road as it is entirely fenced in, the only access is between the easement and the"new" parcel, then the "new parcel and the sellers parcel. I am very confused and more than a bit upset as these people keep using it as access to the well behind my property and bending the fence to get to the well. There is no easement through my fenced property to the well, and plenty of access outside of my fencing, including a portion that is accessible by vehicle, outside my fence but still part of my purchased land.

Asked on 5/20/13, 7:17 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Roy Hoffman Law Offices of Roy A. Hoffman

You should be able to obtain copies of any recorded document from your County Recorder's Office by doing a search of the public records. Any document "dividing" property should have a recorded document showing the division. If the owner sold the property to you, it would be difficult or impossible for him to "divide" it after the sale because he no longer owned the property.

An owner who owns both an easement over a piece of property and fee simple title to the same real property simply owns the property. The easement is merged into the fee simple title.

If the sellers are improperly traversing property owned by you, you have the right to make them stop. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is through a lawsuit. You should seek the services of a competent real estate lawyer to review your documents and fully advise you about your rights and options. Failure to act may result in you giving up your rights to the property in question.

Read more
Answered on 5/20/13, 9:43 am

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

First, it is possible to create an easement that can't be used immediately because of fences or other temporary obstacles. The easement holder would have an implied right to remove the barriers to make the easement useful.

However, I think you have a more fundamental problem here, where it appears that a former owner may be trying to exercise ownership rights he no longer has. I'd start out by making an investigation of whether this is really so, or whether you misunderstand the timing or perhaps his reservation of a right to make these changes at a later date. There's something fishy here, and I suspect (but can't be certain) that you misunderstand what's happened.

If you can't get a satisfactory answer through your own research, or by negotiating with the seller, you should try for a 30-minute or one-hour free consultation with a local real-estate attorney. Take your deed and property maps as well as other documents to the consultation. If still in doubt, feel free to contact me directly

Read more
Answered on 5/23/13, 3:16 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Real Estate and Real Property questions and answers in California