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In Texas, who can claim access to a private lake?

Sherman Oaks, CA |

My friend bought a house in Texas on 80 acres with a private 40 acre lake. He said that one of the neighbors is claiming that he has the right to access the lake under Texas law because the stream that feeds into the lake crosses his property. Also, the neighbor claims that his friend whose land is adjacent to the lake on the south side can also access the water because he (the neighbor) gave him an easement. The whole thing doesn't make sense as the legal description marks the boundary of the lake as the shoreline. But not sure if a person whose water feeds into the lake would have any rights to the lake.

Attorney Answers 1


The only way to know for sure is to have a title search done to see if the easement exists. If your friend bought a title policy, the answer may be there.

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A title search was done but no easements showed. My friend was told that Texas law derives from Spanish laws - something like an adjacent owner has the right to bring cattle to water?

Cheryl Rivera Smith

Cheryl Rivera Smith


No. The SOURCE of Texas, like California, is Spanish. There is no absolute right to water. Depending on how long the trail to the lake has been used by your neighbor, a prescriptive easement might have been acquired.



The prior owner had insisted there were no prescriptive easements given. He said that in Texas landowners are able to use guns to protect their property and that the lake was private and nobody else had the right to use it. It's the neighbor who insists he has a right.

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