Odd Easement Arrangement, Thoughts?

EmmJayJune 29, 2014

I'm a first time poster but long time reader here, so thanks to everyone for the great info that's helped guide me with my town home purchase. I found a great new construction town home, but I do have one easement question. I've never run into something like this before and I want to make sure I'm not missing some potential problem.

I'm buying an end town home in a strip of four. The ends have lovely side yards while the middles have no yard at all. I will have both my own air conditioner and my next door neighbor's in my backyard. I don't care about the noise because I have three A/Cs right near my bedroom window now, and it's just white noise to me. I'm thinking more in terms of problems with having someone who's allowed to come in periodically to service the A/C etc. I certainly don't mind them doing that, but am I missing something that could turn into an issue?

The yard has concrete walls on three sides and a back gate right by the A/Cs. I have a dog who will go out periodically to potty but who won't be left there for extended times and who is very friendly. I don't want him to get out if someone accidentally leaves the gate open, but I doubt anyone will be coming over that much. That's really the only possible issue I can think of. I'll have a hot tub in the yard, but it won't obstruct the A/Cs in any way.

I imagine the easement will be written into the deed, but I don't know what the exact wording will be. It should be something to the effect that the neighbor has access for A/C maintenance and repairs. I'll have an attorney double check it at closing, but it should be straightforward.

Anything I'm missing that I should be taking into consideration? I've lived in town homes for over 20 years with no problems. I even had a shared driveway once; I've read horror stories about those here, but the only "problem" was that it drove my neighbor crazy that I never washed my car, so every now and then he's scrub it down himself. Fine with me!

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If the a/c is right by the gate, couldn't you put another small fence/gate on the other side which couldn't be entered by anyone?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 11:38PM
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Marti, that is how some of the units are set up already. Some have a vinyl fence with a gate at the front and back of the yard, and the a/c area has a fence across it so you can't even access it from the back. The units with a solid wall and a gate only in back don't have that separation. I really like having the additional space in the yard, but adding the fence piece is a good option if we have any problems.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:15AM
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You really need to read the language of the easement. It may grant access 24/7. Or set hours. It may grant access only for work men. Or for the owner as well. It may require notice to you. Or it may not. It may state whether or not you are allowed to put up another fence.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:40AM
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Interesting. I never thought about set hours. I just figured it was 24/7 in case they needed emergency service. Similar units have closed already, so I'll see if the builder has a copy. Interior fence is likely okay since the vinyl fence units have it. You get a lot more yard space when it's open, though. It's a strange arrangement; I've never seen anything like it before.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:09AM
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I'd put a lock on the gate or a sign "keep gate closed" or "dog in yard".

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 10:31PM
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There will definitely be a "Beware of Dog" sign because you must have one to avoid liability in FL. Not that my dog would bite anyone, but they don't have to know that. That way, at least they'll (hopefully) be careful if they need to enter at a time when the dog might be out. He'll only be out there for a brief potty time or when I'm out there with him any, but my mind tends to ponder all the worst-case possibilities. The place next door isn't sold yet, but here's hoping we'll have good, or at least tolerable, neighbors. I'm very spoiled in my current town home with great neighbors.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:41AM
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It's been a little while, so I wanted to post an update. They just finished the first town home that's positioned like my home to be, and they did something totally different with the air conditioners than they're doing on the other side. They built the fence around them, so that cuts off some of the yard, but they extended the back fence out farther to make up for it, albeit with a narrower strip of land. That works fine for me, since the A/C for next door can be serviced without anyone coming into my yard. It's an odd arrangement, so I'm posting a photo to clarify. Originally the back fence was supposed to end at the back of the garage, between the tree and A/Cs.

This post was edited by EmmJay on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 10:36

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:51PM
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