I have a question about timber rights on property. I know ideally you own the timber rights along with property and mineral rights, so that is not the question. What if you as property owner want to clear land for farming or gardening purposes or need to remove or clear trees to build a barn. What rights do you have as property owner to clear the area or areas you need to do this, if you do not own the timber rights? I am retired now and wife and I will eventually move into the cabin, so this is for the near future.
Unless you or a previous owner relinquished the timber rights , you can pretty much do what you want. It's your property and, with few exceptions, you don't need to ask anyone. A few urban and suburban townships have restrictions via local ordinance on cutting live trees but that would be a rare situation out in the country.
Life Member of NRA, Tall Tine outfitters, and life member of UBP.
actually the timber rights were sold off in the early 1950's so I do not own them. They were relinquished prior to the 2 previous owners before I purchased the property. I have owned it since 1996 and just wondering what rights as owner I have to clearing areas to do what I want to do. I hope this makes sense.
Get the deed to the property and find the deed selling the timber rights. usually the terms of the sale will be spelled out by reserving this or that for each party. It would not be uncommon for certain areas being reserved for the land owner to have an area or certain areas for personal use.
But the answers generally can be found in the legal documents of the sale. Go to the courthouse and do a search on your land. The folks there will help you find and copy the documents.
Where it gets tricky is if the sale was not recorded in the land records. Then you have to track down the record of sale and figure out who now owns it and talk to them.
Of course, check with a lawyer before you do any actual building or cutting on the land. In other words, make sure you know what your doing or going to do is legal.
Is your position a short term gain - or a long term loss? Separate the issues.
I second Blueticks post. When the timber rights were sold or reserved by a previous owner, if done correctly through a deed or sales agreement, there should also have been land rights reserved to the surface owner at the time, possibly allowing limited tree removal for what you want to do. Some courthouse work might need done or if you know who the current timber owner is you could start with them.
I certainly wouldnt start cutting trees without knowing what your allowed and not allowed to do, it could get pricey in a hurry.
Thanks for the advise guys that is what I had planned to do. Finding the time to get to the courthouse will be the hurdle right now. Wife is still working so finding time during the week is a stumbling block but I will do it this spring when I am over for trout. Actually there are more value in the trees that are close to camp then outback so I will address that with the owner as well. All I know right now she lives in Corry,Pa. So I will do the footwork needed and thanks again.
Few thoughts. 1-While it is best to reserve timber rights as part of a deed or as a easement, and have it recorded, I have also seen it done as a contract. At least up here in NY, either way is valid. 2- you mention that this was done in the early 1950's. Has it been cut since? A lot of time the owners of the timber rights are unaware of their existence. 3- another thing to check is if there was a time period for the easement. Often the timber rights are reserved for a set time period and if the timber reservation is not used,revert to the underlying fee owner. Also, I have seen them as valid for one harvest, after which they revert to the fee owner. This should be clearly spelled out in the deed.worth checking. $
4- At least in NY (PA could be different) there are some land tax implications. W/O the timber rights you do not have full value of the real poperty and may be able to get your assessment reduced. I would watch out with this one as local assessors can get a little vindictive about this. 5-If you have a abstract, it should show up in that.
Guys, if the timber rights are still valid what is the best and also the most common method to purchase the timber rights?
Caddisman, not trying to hijack your thread. My suggestion would be to pay an abstractor to find the severance of timber rights along with a general title search. The question above is a possible second step. The abstractor could be the best $300-$500 you spent in a long time.
The United States of America has the greatest people on earth.