Deeded water rights? - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Deeded water rights?

To open, I know I shouldnt take anything here as the law and I will be seeking help from a lawyer but figured I would ask anyway...

There is a plot of land I am looking to potentially purchase, decent size for a lot and in an area I am looking to purchase to build a home (hopefully and eventually). However, I was just informed by the realtor that there is a well on the property that a neighbor has deeded rights to. How does this effect me?

The area has public sewage and is susposed to be getting public water at some point so this may become irrelivant unless the tap in is not required. I personally would have zero interest in using the well if I built on the property but Im wondering legally what I am responsible for? What if I build a house and messup the water table or anything else?

Right now Im not sure where the well is on the property but will be doing an offical walk through of the land to see. Im assuming its near the property line and would not be near the site I would assume Id be building, so I dont think its a huge deal but Im just not sure what I should look out for or anything.

Also I wasnt sure the best place to put this so I figured maybe someone has run into something like this with a camp as I know up north its not out of the norm to share spring sites
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 02:36 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Let me know if this is around Hasting Pa as I'm getting ready to shut one off that was deeded to the wifes grandfather and it is on the neighbor property.The house now has city water but the well is still active.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Wow small world...not Hastings but near by
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 03:01 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Ok Me and the father in law will be up in a few week to start to take care of it all.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 03:10 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Wow! Small world!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 03:26 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Property is like a basket of different items. There are many different parts that can be rented or even sold. You can lease a field to a farmer for a number of years, sell mineral rights, give a limited right of way, sell a right of way, etc. Enter into a hunting lease for 20 years. Sell the rights of estover. A well on a neighboring property is often caused when a lot is split. No sense digging a new well if you can reserve the rights. I am aware of two case in which septic systems lie on neighboring lots. One due to splitting a lot in two and another due to a drunken surveyor. One old York County deed I read from the 1820's, reserves the right to cross a neighbor's land to water live stock in a stream.

In this area, there were many unwritten implied right of ways, that became forgotten after a generation and end up with land locked parcels.

I had a client here this morning that bought a lot in 1986 that had two sheds built along the side of the property. He got a letter from the neighbor telling him the sheds encroach on a right of way and to tear them down. We wrote back telling the developer that the sheds stay. They have been there more than 21 years and the easement, at least where the sheds sit, has been voided by adverse possession.

As long as the "neighbor/lot" owning the water right doesn't care, shut it off. Be careful, though, some townships have ordinances about filling in abandoned wells.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Deeded water rights?

The problem is the landowner with the rights still is actively using the well. I know some townships/towns require to pay the tap in fee/monthly fees ect but do not require you use the water. Im in the process of finding out if the township will require tap in and use. If they do problem solved. If not, I need to find out what happens if I mess up their water
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 06:10 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

The neighbor might have the rights, but the water still is on the other property - so does the landowner actually "own" the water, but the lessee have the right to use it? Can drilling another well hurt the water table, and if so, would the landowner really be liable?

My neighbor has his septic tank on my property - and it has been there through the last four owners. However a township supervisor told me each time it was sold, I had to giver permission for continued use of the septic tank - grandfathered or not but that never happened -- it just went with the place. He told me that if I ever wanted to buy the place the next time it goes up for sale, refuse to sign over the rights so it would be hard to sell - and lower the value -- then (he said) "buy it cheap, use the septic tank, and use it for a rental."

I don't know if a water well situation carries the same rules...?
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 11:44 PM
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Re: Deeded water rights?

I have a shared well. The well is on my property and it is in my deed that my neighbor has the right to use it. It is one well with two pipes in it and we both have jet pumps in out basements. It is also in the deed that if anything happens to the well, that a new well needed to be drilled, the neighbor will lose his right and we will both need to drill our own wells. We bought the house in 2000 and have not had any problems as of yet. I guess it would depend on the type of neighbor you have also. The guy living next door has always been great.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-28-2012, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Deeded water rights?

Just as a heads up, spoke to my lawyer and basically my liability depends on what the deed officially says. It could be worded with no liability to full liability if I do something that changes the well quality/quantity. Im going to the court house tomorrow to see what I can dig up.

On another note, the well is located at the very corner of the property which is the best case scenario. However, we parked in the next door neighbors driveway with permission but I was threatened to be shot if I purchase the land and build on it. Basically gave me further incentive to purchase! Not sure what his deal is but whatever
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