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Drafting a reciprocal easement agreement with neighbor?

Newport Beach, CA |

I have a current easement with my neighbor which uses the property line in an altered way than it is currently recorded. We have discussed writing a conditional easement that shows our current agreement and the ability to revert to the recorded property line if either of us moves and there are issues with the subsequent owner. How important is for this to be drafted by a lawyer, and does it need to be recorded with the county?

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Attorney answers 3


You are getting into one of the most expensive potential problems neighbors can have. Neighbors who do not like each other will often spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting over small slivers of land with little value. Please get an attorney to properly draft this agreement and then record the document. A mistake in drafting now will likely not be a problem until the future when there is a pesky neighbor. What if you cannot revoke the deed because it was improperly drafted?

It is a good idea to get the agreement in writing and recording may or may not be the best thing...ask your attorney.


You are treading on dangerous ground. First, a conditional easement would make it much harder for either of you to sell if it is recorded. Second, if you and your neighbor have a falling out there could be problems down the road. Third, you are running a huge risk if you do not consult a real estate lawyer to draft the agreement. A home in Newport Beach is a huge investment. Don't screw it up in an effort to save $2000.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


Given the warnings of the prior responders, you should consider a cross-permissive use agreement between you and your neighbor. Not recorded. Then, if either of you should sell the easement use will revert to what is now recorded.

There is another issue, unmentioned above. If you do arrange to make a change to the easement with a recorded revision, you will need to make sure that any lender is asked to consent. A change in the recorded title will not remove any priority interest, and without the consent of the lenders for both parcels, there will be a breach of the covenants of each deed of trust, then of record on the properties.

As you have been told, you should see a lawyer versed in real property law.

DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only under the AVVO system its terms and conditions. It discusses general legal principles, trends, and considerations and is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship.

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