I bought a house, yay. The cable company won't serve me, boo. Why not? They say I have no legal path to get from their utility pole to my lot. The property owner next door is willing to give me permission to cross his lot but balked at an easement. What can I do? (Picture contained within.)
This all takes place inside the city limits of Seattle, Washington.
This is a picture of my current situation
The green line is the existing aerial drop from the utility pole (red dot east of Side Street). My house is the red rectangle. The orange rectangle is a multifamily building. The dashed grey lines are our not-to-scale lot lines.
My cable TV and telephone wires come from the utility pole and are physically tied (yes, tied, as in "temporary setup that has been there for a long time") to the stairs on the building next door. The local cable company came out for an installation and said "no way, pal, we can't serve you like that, you need permission from the building owner next door." I checked all of the records I can find through the King County Recorder's office. There is no easement, as far as I can tell.*
I wrote to the owner of the property next door to ask for an easement, a 6' path across the back property line (grey box in the picture). It is an LLC with a listed manager who has an address that's also in Seattle. He called me back and turned down an easement because he didn't want to encumber his property and possibly screw up future development, but said he'd be happy to give me permission. That's all good, right?
Here's my problem: What happens when or if this LLC sells? Or tears down the building to build townhouses? I have no other way to get 911 access, and I need a physical phone line for a few different reasons. It's my understanding that if I accept permission, I forgo any claim to a "prescriptive easement" because now the owner is allowing my "open and notorious use." But I don't really want to sue for an easement, either, since that seems like a great way to antagonize someone who is trying to be accommodating and also look out for his own interests.
Mrs. Fireoyster and a friend of mine say I'm being too worrisome. They say that, worst case, in 10 years the building gets redeveloped and the new owners come to me saying "hey, your wires are in the way, can we run them elsewhere?"
What would you do, MeFites? Do I have any other options?
* Why don't I have access via Major Arterial Rd? According to the cable company, about 30 years ago, Seattle rebuilt this road and buried all the utilities. The previous cable and telephone companies were invited to bury their wires as well but declined to do so. Now there are no utility poles on Major Arterial Rd so neither cable nor telephone can run down it through the air.