Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Pennsylvania

I bought my home in November 1995 and the gas meter was attached to the house, on the left side of the house. I had a survey done prior to buying and there was no indicaction that the meter was not on my property. I also happen to know the two prior owners of the house and they both tell me the meter has been located in the same spot for over 40 years. Four years ago, a man moved in next door and his survey says the meter is partially on his proprty. By "partially", I am talking LESS THAN AN INCH, sits on what he claims is the property line. He refuses to let me on his side to read my meter on months the gas company doesn't. I now have to have my meter serviced. The gas company sent me a letter saying the meter was old and needs replaced. He has piled firewood in front of the meter, making it inaccessible to both me and the gas company. I have got two letters from the gas company saying they are going to shut off my service if they cannot access my meter to read and service it. I have had numerous other problems with this man and on several occassions the police have been called. He has threatened and verbally harrassed me on several occassions and the police suggest I do not speak to him. I did try to talk to him about the gas meter and he swore at me and told me not to come near his property. Do I have any rights as far as being able to access my gas meter? Does this man have the right to prevent both me and the public utility workers from accessing my gas meter? I have also looked into having the meter moved, and this would require having the main gas line to my house moved and the cheapest estimate I got to do this was $1200.00. I cannot afford to have the meter moved.

Thank you in advance for any information.

Asked on 10/04/09, 10:15 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Teitell Richard K. Teitell, Esquire, P.C.

Here are some thoughts which may help you

1. Unless you saw the written survey obtained by the neighbor and/or saw the surveyor put stakes in the ground to demarcate the property line, you don't know if the neighbor's assertion is correct.

2. Obtain you own professional survey & have the surveyor put stakes & a chalk or paint line exactly where the property line is & immediately take a bunch of photos (preferably digital) from various angles in case you have to show it to a judge

3. If the utility co installed the meter in the wrong location it has the duty to remove it & place it on your property without cost to you

4. The utility co probably has an easement to come onto any property to read & service the meter.

5. You should contact an experienced real estate attorney in your area to help you sort thru this. If you need a referral please contact me.

6. Good luck!!

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Answered on 10/10/09, 11:44 am

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