ROW/ Easement question - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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ROW/ Easement question

I was up at camp this past weekend and one of the local land owners offered me up a 50 acre tract of land he would sell. The property is “landlocked” via motorized vehicle. The back side of the property is thousands of acres of timber property which I can access the 50 acres via foot through there. The front side has another 80 acre tract with a logging going up through it via access to the 50 acres. Current land owner said he has never had a problem accessing the land and has even had it timbered 3 times in 30 years and never had a easement or row from the owner of the 80 acre tract. I would possibly be interested in the 50 acres but would need to be able to get a motorized vehicle to it. I would not want to get invest in a property then have the 80 acre guy say no way your not getting in via my land. I have not spoken to that gentleman yet but just figuring on worst case he says no is there anything I can do to get a row to access the property? Would he be required to give me an easement to get to it? Would I have to buy an easement from him? Just curious on if anyone was ever in the same situation. I know my best option if he would say no is to talk to an attorney but I just figured I would ask here as I am not fully 100% interested in the land at this point in time. Thank you everyone in advance for your opinions.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:30 PM
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If you can get an access easement in writing from the owner of the adjoining ground, go that route. Minimum fuss and expense. Oral agreements don't last, although they're great while they do. He dies, his survivors can change the game.

From the experiences of others, apparently PA is not a state where recourse to accessing land locked parcels is a big deal? It requires title research, an attorney and a "day in court" to gain legal access,

Years ago my ol' gal spent days at the courthouse looking into "unclaimed" mountain land for which no current owner of record was found and scored her ex a chunk that adjoined mountain ground he already owned. In the process, she discovered a recorded ROW (from the early 1900s), that split two adjoining parcels and gave them access. The owners had no idea that ROW existed.

When the unclaimed parcel was "awarded" to her ex, the ROW issue was also settled at the same time. So the two other land owners kicked in a few hundred bucks apiece, for her efforts.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:47 PM
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Although you already mentioned it I would suggest seeing an Attorney depending on how serious you are on the purchase.
No matter how much advice you could possibly get on here, there is no substitution for whats legal and not.
Hate to see you with a problem down the road.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potter Co. Joe View Post
Although you already mentioned it I would suggest seeing an Attorney depending on how serious you are on the purchase.
No matter how much advice you could possibly get on here, there is no substitution for whats legal and not.
Hate to see you with a problem down the road.

I agree and I would also say that the 50 acres should be priced accordingly for not having an access to make it worthwhile to go thru the hassle you are likely to go thru. I would probably call the adjoining landowner first just to feel out his thoughts on giving you a legal easement. Even if he does you will have some legal fees getting that processed plus probably paying him some money.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:05 PM
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Sounds like a nightmare. I think I would pass on that property. Why is the guy selling.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:11 PM
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I'm not buying anything without seeing an easement to the property on a survey and recorded on the deed. Momma didn't raise no fool.

Have no idea if there is some established case law that gives you right to transgress thru the property of another, to yours, without the other land owners consent. That is what you will have to find out, from an attorney, I don't know the answer to that.

The guy could tell you, sure I'll give you an easement and then change his mind or jack up the price. I wouldn't be able to take that kind of stress/risk. Maybe you can.

Just some thoughts I had. Good luck, I hope things work out for you. 50 acres is a nice piece of property.
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Last edited by 35 whelen; 06-26-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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He wasn’t really looking to sell but just happened to mention he had 50 acres he timbered 5 years ago 16”+ that he’s never going to do anything with. Jokingly I said well how much do you want per acre for it. He threw out a number that I know darn well you can’t touch land for. He said you want it? I said I’ll think about it I’m coming up in August and would check out the piece then. He said it’s all yours if you want it. That’s when I started asking a few more questions about it and started doing a little research.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-26-2019, 10:43 PM
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I would only pay for what it is worth to you with no right of way/easement. Because there is none right now. Then if you can get one, you hit a homerun.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 01:17 PM
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You need to be 100% sure what you want to do with this land...if it just get access for hunting thats one thing but it you ever plan to build Id probably move on. It sounds like the owner of the 80 acres is who you need to talk to assuming they granted access for the timber job. Tell them the situation and ask if they would grant access. Tell them you would pay all lawyer fees to get a formal easement in place. Do know though, if they end up finding out the property could be bought, they might say no and buy it instead. You could always come up with an agreement with the landowner for him to get the easement first then you buy or agree to buy the land contingent on getting the easement. Just because you can access the land today through the timber property that could change at any minute, Id much rather have a legal easement.

You already know but a lawyer is in order
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 06-27-2019, 02:47 PM
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If the current owner has indeed been using the logging road for 21+ years (you said he had log trucks in there 30 years ago), you are looking at what is called a prescribed easement (if my failing memory serves me correctly). The 21 years of access establishes that in PA...but I think it needs to be consistent use.

As others have noted, I would not be throwing down for 50 acres without knowing with certainty that the 80-acre owner cannot shut it down in the future. I would speak with him first....if he's OK with the established easement (logging road), then it should be fairly simple and inexpensive to get an attorney to write up the ROW and get it filed with the local courthouse.

If the owner is not kosher with a new owner (you) using the logging road, then you would need to have an attorney push the 21-year rule to get it established....but then you are potentially dealing with a bitter neighbor - not the best of scenarios.
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