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Idaho Easement Rights and Property Improvements. Private Property Ingress / Egress Easement Law

This legal question related to personal property law attorneys in Idaho has been answered.


One of our neighbors who shares a platted Ingress / Egress Easement that crosses a number or adjacent property owners land refuses to accept any normal road building practices common to building mountain logging roads or the least cost methods that are necessary to direct snow melt / ground water runoff of and away from the road surface. He is adamantly opposed to Bar Ditches running parallel to the road and to the use of a 'French Drain' to handle year long ground / surface water runoff across the road under it's surface in 'boggy areas'. He is so opposed to a French Drain that, on a number of occasions wherein neighbors constructed a french drain under the road, (not on his property), that he has 'deconstructed' the drain and backfilled it with road dirt.

On a 60' wide portion of the platted easement that lies entirely within his property along his Southern property line, he claims absolute right to decide on and, approve of, any improvements. In addition, he claims that all of the materials (dirt and rocks) that lie naturally within the easement are his property solely for his personal use and not for any road improvements.

Is there an Idaho "Easement Law' of any document(s) that delineate what can and cannot be done to improve the dirveability of a road that is relied on for ingress & egress all year long. Specifically, who 'ownes' the natural rocks and dirt that lie within a Platted Easement and may those materials be removed from the easement for use by the property owner across whose property the Easement is platted ? 

Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to personal property law attorneys in the jurisdiction of Idaho. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

Idaho Easement Rights and Property Improvements

When an individual encounters disputes concerning easement rights, particularly in Idaho, understanding the nuances of easement laws and property rights is essential. The challenge of determining rights over road improvements and the ownership of naturally occurring materials within an easement is both legally and practically complex.

Relevant Idaho Legal Resources:

Solutions for Easement Disputes:

  1. Clear Definition of Easement Rights: Easements typically have written agreements or are dictated by local laws which determine the scope and use of the easement. Referencing these documents can help ascertain the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.

  2. Mediation: Before resorting to legal action, consider a mediation process. An experienced arbitration and mediation attorney can assist in coming to an agreement that respects both parties' rights and desires.

  3. Legal Action: If disputes can't be resolved amicably, consulting with an attorney familiar with Idaho property law might be necessary. They can guide you on the best legal action to take to protect your rights.

Cost Estimation for Legal Interventions:

Service Average Price ($) Description
Initial Consultation 120 First meeting with a lawyer to discuss case
Mediation Process 350 per hour Mediating disputes before legal action
Legal Representation (property dispute) 2000 - 5000 Representing in court or legal procedures
Easement Document Review 300 - 700 Reviewing easement agreements/documents
Easement Establishment/Modification 1000 - 2500 Establishing or modifying an easement

Note: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the case, experience of the lawyer, and specific location within Idaho.

Clarifications and Call to Action:

Given the detailed nature of your question, it would be beneficial to obtain additional specifics regarding the easement documentation. Remember, the key to resolving such disputes lies in the details. Consider taking a step today to find the right lawyer who can guide you through this process.

Key Questions to Answer:

  1. Easement Documentation: Do you have a written easement agreement or was this easement established by usage over time?

  2. Prior Agreements: Have there been prior agreements or understandings concerning road improvements among property owners sharing the easement?

  3. Other Property Owners: Are other property owners facing similar challenges with this neighbor? A collective approach might offer more weight.

Common Questions and Their Answers:

1. Can a property owner block access to an easement?

While the property owner retains ownership of the land on which an easement exists, they generally cannot deny the rights granted by the easement. However, specific details of the easement agreement or local laws can affect this.

2. What if there's no written agreement for the easement?

Even if there's no written agreement, if an easement has been used openly and continuously for a certain period, it might be recognized as a "prescriptive easement". It's essential to consult an attorney regarding the specific criteria in Idaho.

3. Can I make improvements on an easement?

Typically, any improvements that do not interfere with the primary use of the easement are permissible. Again, it's crucial to reference any written agreements or local laws.

4. Who's responsible for maintenance of an easement in Idaho?

Unless specified in an agreement, generally, the party benefiting from the easement is responsible for its maintenance.

5. What if my neighbor damages my property while using an easement?

If a party causes damage outside the scope of the easement's use, they might be liable for damages. It's advisable to consult with an attorney for specifics related to your situation.


This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

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