TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: On Having Telco as a Housemate (was Question Easement)

Re: On Having Telco as a Housemate (was Question Easement)
20 Oct 2005 07:38:23 -0700

> I think eventually if an easement record cannot be located, IBT will
> have to bite the dust and relocate the whole thing at thier expense.
> The woman has said if the easement *is* found, and it contains the
> signature of the former owner, she will sue him if necessary to make
> him pay for the removal.


> If I were that lady, and IBT came to the door because they needed
> access to work on one of the lines that came to that box, I would give
> it to them -- as soon as they showed me the document granting telco
> the easement. Not before.


> This woman ought to consult a real estate attorney without delay. I
> believe that her seller was responsible for conveying a clear title to
> the property, including a written description of any easements. He (or
> his title insurance company) are probably responsible for Illinois
> Bell's claim of easement.

Interesting points. If IBT had a special easement above and beyond
the normal public utility one granted by law they would and should
have documentation to prove it. Likewise, the original seller of the
house had to convey clear title or describe in the deed any special

In my state, deeds for homes contain some standard boilerplate
prohibiting their use as a tannery or pig farm or other obnoxious uses
as well as granting easements for utilities. They may be also
convenants with the deed limiting certain uses or alterations. For
example, when Levittowns were built, owners were prohibited from
building fences or doing laundry on Sunday.

Most people don't read their deed or properly reserach the original
title of the property their buying or of the surrounding area. Most
deed convenants are very tightly binding and very difficult to
overturn. An exception was convenants that limited subsequent sale to
certain ethnicities; they have been voided by law.

As to the issue of conveying clear title, this is true, and certainly
the woman could sue the former owner if it turned out IBT in fact had
an easement that wasn't disclosed in the title. HOWEVER, there's two
old expressions in real estate: "you can't sue bricks" and "you can
sue me if you can find me". In other words, any questions should be
resolved before the property is purchased, not after because it's
damned hard too.

> I understand that uncontested use of a property will mature into
> permanent rights after some (forgotten) interval.
> I think the interval is 20 years for "adverse use" of property. Your
> mileage may vary.

Yes, that's true too. A common example is when a neighbor builds a
garage that happens to fall on your side of the property line. If you
don't about it or ignore it for the specified length of time, the
property line is shifted and becomes your neighbor's. Another example
is a college that has streets on its campus open to the public but are
actually private. Typically colleges close these streets once a year
and publish a notice to retain its ownership. Likewise for buildings
with sidewalks open to the public but are on private property.

The critical issue in real estate is to get everything in writing and
keep the papers permanently. If you're buying a property, make sure
the seller or agent answers all your questions in writing before you
sign for it.

Our complex got burned with the water company because we were sloppy
and didn't require a written record. The water company built a new
pipeline through our complex, which they had a legal right to do.
They met with us and promised to restore the area (light woodsy) and
plant lots of specified trees. But after construction they planted
_one_ cheap tree and refused to do any more (they did plant grass).
We had no written record of their committment and they denied it. Our
own damn stupidity.

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