I could probably write a book on this subject. I could tell you so many property horror stories you wouldn't be able to sleep at night. I'll try to
refrain, but I've seen more than my share of them. You've gotten some sound advice, and several posters have come very close to the heart of the
issue, but there is more. Plus, some of the terminology being used in this post is not exactly correct. A few questions first:
1. You've said your lot is "huge", but how big are we talking about here? 1 acre, 5 acres, 40 acres, 640 acres, etc.? Reason for asking is because
the laws change as parcel size increases.
2. Where does the regulated utility end? Some explanation - Power comes to most lots along a regulated utility "easement". (not to be confused with
other types of easements which we'll get into later) This is a legally documented 'Right of Way' across property. This easement usually ends at, or
before, an individual property. When Section sized parcels get subdivided and roads are involved this gets more complicated, but judging from your
description this is not the case. Everything on the easement belongs to the power company (not the easement itself, but all the power related
equipment on it). The property owner is required to extend the power from the end of the easement to the home site (at his cost). This is NOT an
easement (or "not yet" anyway). So, back to the question; where does the publicly regulated utility easement end with respect to your property (and
his)? This is important.
As noted above, there are other types of easements. Depending on the state laws, these can be called things like "permissive easements" and/or
"necessity easements", and this is where things get sticky. An example of a necessity easement would be a road across one property to access another
landlocked parcel. A permissive easement is even more ambiguous. An example would be where one property owner allows another to cross (or use) a
portion of his property for things like convenience (not to be confused with necessity). The problem is, over time, a permissive easement can affect
the property on either side of it, unlike a necessity easement which only grants access to another property.
You'll need to nip this in the bud quickly (as others have noted), and here's why... This example was an extreme case, but it illustrates the point.
A large well to do subdivision was built next to some ranch land up in Boulder. The ranch sat on a section of property which was located in between
the subdivision and some state owned land where there was a river. The rancher used the river to water his cows. A wealthy dentist moved into one of
the houses in the subdivision and he and his wife gained permission from the rancher to walk across his property to the river so they could take
This arrangement went on for several years until one day the rancher got served with papers that said the dentist could now claim the property they
walked on as their own through a permissive easement law. This wasn't the worst part. All the property on the other side of where the couple
transited was also claimed (effectively cutting the ranch in half), and even worse, it cut the rancher off from the water in the river. Everyone
thought the claim was ridiculous and that it would never stand up in court. Well, it DID stand up in court and the wealthy dentist basically
bankrupted the rancher hiring high priced attorneys to essentially annex the land from the rancher! (Note - It makes me furious to even type this,
but I digress). The dentist and his wife knew the laws, and they even bought their house with the idea of pulling this scheme off. They played the
system and won!
So, for all you know, this guy is a calculating SOB who knows the laws and intends to enlarge his property by every means possible. Have your
property surveyed by a registered land surveyor. Tell the neighbor what you are doing and why. You don't have to get into a confrontation about it,
but you're just letting him know you are going to protect your legal right to YOUR property. If he's putting in a utility along the property line,
make sure it will not become part of the regulated utility easement (the power company can answer this). And make doubly sure you understand the
easement "set backs" (i.e. the width of any such easement).
A little side note: A tree is a permanent structure and can legally be removed if it resides in an easement. If this homeowner has some scheme to
create an easement along your property you should definitely get legal counsel involved and file an injunction or stop work order until the matter is
completely resolved. Leave nothing to chance and good will. Plus, an injunction or stop work will delay power to your new neighbor, which will
definitely let him know you are serious about the matter. The legal "position of strength" is on your side (for now), but it won't be for long if
they start digging!
Hope this helps.
edit on 9/4/2019 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)