Can a shared well be unshared?
August 2, 2007 1:48 AM Subscribe
Disentangling from the neighbors: If we pay (or pay part), can we "force" our neighbor to drill their own well? We have a shared well which is on our property.
posted by maxwelton to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(The following is provided for background, my question is in the paragraph above, if you're pressed for time. Yes, lawyers would be consulted--looking for anecdotes/real life experiences.)
To put it simply, we don't get along with our neighbors to be. Our relationship got off on a friendly foot, but went quickly sour when we revealed that we would be building our little farmhouse on the high point of our land and putting our (hopefully attractive, classic) barn between our house and theirs as a shield for both of us.
We own ten acres and so do they. The property was originally one parcel, and the house they live in was placed in the center of the 20 acres. The original owners fell on hard times, split the property to sell our ten acres for cash and eventually had to sell it all. The neighbors house, therefore, is just feet from the new property line, along with their horse barn, etc. Our property, in effect, is their "virtual front yard."
Our proposed building site is about 150' inside the shared property line, and our barn would be about 70' inside of it, all very happy according to the county. However, when we sent them a link to our proposed layout (back when we were friendly), they blew a gasket. They cannot comprehend why we don't want to build as far from them as possible (i.e., in the low, wet spot next to the county road). Their reaction is sorta understandable, though the way they communicated it (via insult and invective) was not so hot.
Things escalated quickly and the neighbor said some very hurtful things to/about my wife. After a chilly year or so, the acrimony has flared up again. More hurtful things were said (the neighbor could definitely learn something about diplomacy). There is almost zero chance of reconciliation, as my wife is not a forgiving person, and really, I can't blame her. (Ironically, both husbands are pretty easy going people who are slightly bewildered but obviously are supporting the various home teams. Anyway.)
We share a well, which is on our property. There is a legal agreement. This doesn't bother me too much, but in many ways it would be nice to simply be able to plant trees along the line and have them "disappear" from our lives...the shared well prevents that from being a clean break. Obviously they would need a well. Is there any precedent for a shared well agreement being extinguished if one of the parties agrees to pay for the other party's well to be dug? There should be any number of areas suitable for a well on their land, so that shouldn't be an issue.
Obviously, we would consult an attorney if we ever got to that stage, but I'm looking for anecdotes or real life experiences. We have not discussed this with them, I just want to make mental notes so that if that day approaches I can be prepared.