Updated on May 20, 2021
Can the owner of an easement ask or demand that the easement users help pay for maintenance?
Whether an owner of an easement area can ask or demand that the easement users help pay for maintenance depends on a variety of factors. In this post, we discuss: (1) the general rules regarding who is responsible for maintaining an easement; and (2) situations where an easement owner may be entitled to demand that the easement user pay for the maintenance of the easement.
An easement is a non-possessory right that allows the owner of the easement the limited right to use another’s property. The interest held by the owner of the easement is often referred to as the “dominant tenement.” The interest held by the owner of the property burdened with the easement is often referred to as the “servient tenement.”
Generally, the servient tenement does not have an independent obligation to maintain the easement. Accordingly, if the user of the easement is the servient tenement, it is unlikely that the easement owner can force the easement user to help pay for maintenance of the easement. However, the servient and dominant tenement can agree otherwise. If that is the case, then the easement owner may be able to demand that the easement user contribute towards maintenance.
In contrast, the dominant tenement has both the right and duty to maintain and repair the easement to prevent injury to third persons and to the servient tenement. This applies even when there is more than one easement owner. In that scenario, the easement owner may demand other users (who also own an interest in the easement) to help pay for maintaining the easement, unless there is an agreement that states otherwise.
Finally, a third party who uses, but does not own any rights in the easement, would likely have no obligation to share in the cost to maintain the easement. Accordingly, in that situation, an easement owner would like be unable to force the user to contribute towards maintaining the easement, unless there is an agreement that states otherwise.
Schorr Law has extensive experience with all types of easement disputes, including disputes regarding the maintenance and repair of easements.
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