Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

When I was presented with my preliminary title documents, I came across two shared well agreements. As I read the agreements, I realized that the parcel number shown did not match the property I was purchasing. Also it listed 1997 as the expiration date for these agreements. I am puzzled as to why - and if the property I am purchasing is even party to these recorded agreements? Note: These are County recorded agreements attached to the title of the property - but not listed as easements or encroachments. Thank you for any information you can provide.

Asked on 6/30/13, 3:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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

There are several possibilities. Some that come to mind are:

(1) If the agreements are very old (which they may be, if they expired in 1997), the parcel numbers may have changed. This could come about due to lot splits, expansion of the APN system to include additional digits, or some other historical reason.

(2) The parcel number shown may be the number of the other parcel involved in the agreement, rather than the one you're thinking of buying.

(3) The parcel number may be incorrectly written, in which case you should see if there is any other information in the instrument that would give a clue as to what property the writer had in mind. For example, is there a correct street address accompanying the incorrect parcel number?

I would ask the seller to explain his or her understanding of the shared well agreements, and to point out the physical location(s) of the wells, pumps, piping, and associated electric power supply.

Adequate (and legal) water supply is a critical factor in the value of rural real estate, and you need to understand your water situation thoroughly before buying. If possible, you should get recent well test records, inquire into the seller's use and consumption of water, inquire whether the well(s) have ever gone dry, and so on.

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Answered on 6/30/13, 4:19 pm

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