This is the second part to a series on easements in Marin county. It is quite common in Marin to have them come up in your due diligence on a perspective property or maybe you own a property and know you have one.
The next situation is where my client bought his home 30 years ago knowing that the carport went 1 foot into the neighbors property - with nothing in writing. The photo above is the carport and you can see the fencepost in the background approximately where the property line is.
When we were working on the disclosures, it came up that his carport had been built into the neighbor’s lot before he bought the house. Not a big deal, but it gets worse.
While preparing the home for sale, we approached the neighbor to see if he would allow us to cut a few branches to enhance the homes view. He responded back that he wanted to build a fence along the property line and asked if my client would pay for half. About $3,000.
When we started to look at it, my seller realized that he had asked the neighbor if he could put his sewer lateral around the carport. The old line ran under the carport and there was not a good way to go around it. The work had been about 9 years ago and both agreed, but put nothing in writing. See diagram below.
At this point, we needed to get the sewer line on his property or negotiate an easement agreement. The goal being that the neighbor could build his fence and my client could remain in possession of the easement into perpetuity. This included getting a real estate attorney involved and a surveyor to accurately draw up the easement.
It ended up costing my client a total of $14,000* to clear this issue on the title so we could move forward on the transaction. It also took about 2 weeks longer than the contract to purchase we had in place. Good thing the buyer was patient.
If you have any use of someone else’s property or they have use of yours. I encourage you to get it in writing as soon as possible so there are not issues down the line. I also had to take care of this on one of my personal properties when I sold it which will be part 3.
The moral of the story is that a casual conversation and agreement between neighbors does not suffice in real estate matters. You have to have things documented in writing in a proper format otherwise it is going to cost you problems in the future.
If you have questions about a situation you are encountering, do not hesitate to call me at 415-297-3874.
* $1,000 for the Survey, $3,000 for the attorney and $10,000 to build the fence.