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Ingress/egress easement: grantee construction/improvement rights

Nogal, NM |

My wife and I as Grantors granted a non-exclusive ingress/egress easement to a certain party to cross our land from a highway to reach her property. The language of the easement grant does not address maintenance issues or responsibilities. An agreement on maintenance was offered by us to Grantee, but refused without counteroffer. Grantee now claims: (1) platted easement pathway across our land is her exclusive property; (2) she has a right to construct a water drainage system partly on our non-easement land and partly on easement pathway -- a project which will require extensive trenching and changes in terrain; (3) she is not required to get our approval or apprise us of engineering details and qualifications of contractor(s) who would be doing this work; (4) she will send us a bill for the work and expects payment from us
At no time has Grantee complained that the "water drainage problem" she claims exists has in any way impeded her use of the ingress/egress easement. Question: does Grantee have the right to do this project despite our specific disapproval?

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Attorney answers 1


Whether or not the easement is exclusive to the Grantee may be irrelevant for this particualr issue (although it clearly gives rise to it's own fight down the road). You may be mich closer to the answer in noting that the Grantee has not complained about water drainage as a barrier to enjoyment of the easement. If in fact water drainage does present such a barrier, you may have a duty to provide a reasonable remedy to the drainage issue. It seems unlikely that the Grantee has the ability to exercise this level of control over the maintenance of the easement at this point in the process. In any event, you certainly do not want to remain silent while the work is done. If the commencement of the work is imminent, you may need to seek a temporary restraining order and injunction until these issues are resolved.