From the Forum – Advice on Easement

Photo by PoPville flickr user washingtonydc

Advice on Easement:

“I could use some advice regarding a developer who is building a four-story condo on the property behind our house. I own the corner lot on a block of row houses. There is a six ft. easement that runs behind all our homes that we used as storage for our trash cans. The developer purchased the property around the corner from our house and the side of the property runs along the easement. The developer tore down the old property and used his half to the easement leaving us with three ft.

The owners on the block in closest proximity to the construction have had some issues with the developer over the last several months: our easement was comprised and construction was shut down by the city, our fences have been broken, unsecured building materials have fallen into our backyards damaging personal property, open containers of food and drinks are left for days at a time, construction workers have walked along the tops of our fences or nailed things directly into the fence without our permission. It might not seem like much, but it starts to add up.

The latest issue we have is that the developer re-poured the concrete over our easement and sloped it towards our backyards. The gutter for the condo runs from the fourth floor all the way down to ground level and is pointed to the top of the sloped easement. It’s obvious that he’s trying to divert water from his building so the floor built below ground doesn’t have any moisture issues, but in doing so, he’s adding extra water to our backyards which I think poses a problem for our yards and patios long-term.

Long story short, does anyone have any suggestions about what recourse the owners have to get the developer to fix the easement? Does he have the legal right to change the slope of our easement? And if not, how can we get him to change it back? He told an owner on the block that he would fix it in the spring, but the condos are due to go on the market any day and I believe he intends to ignore us and leave it up to the new owners to figure out.

I’ve tried calling and emailing him in the past but he’s been quite contentious and ignored any of the concerns we have. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!”

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