Real Estate Q & A: Property owners must share easement expenses

By Adam D. Martinez | Chairman of Real Estate Litigation Department

Question:  We own a home on a large lot in Maricopa County. The lot is in a cul-de-sac with four other large lots with homes. All of the lot owners access their lots using an easement on a private road. The recorded easement only refers to the right to use the road and does not mention anything about maintenance or repair. The road is a dirt road and is in disrepair due to use and weathering. We want to repair the road but do not want to pay for it by ourselves. Two of the owners want to pave the road and are telling the other owners that everyone will have to share in the expense. Do we have to share in the expense in repairing or paving the road?

Answer:  The general rule in Arizona is that, unless otherwise provided for in the express language of a recorded easement, the owners of an easement are required to share equally in the maintenance and repair of the easement. However, there is no general obligation for the owners of an easement to construct improvements or share in the expense of constructing improvements on an easement. Therefore, if the easement requires reasonable repairs, each of the owners will be required to pay an equal share of the expenses for the repairs. If some or all of the owners wish to construct improvements on the easement, they may do so as long as the improvements do not unreasonably interfere with the use of the easement. However, an owner will not likely be required to pay for any of the expense of paving the road.

Adam Martinez is the Chairman of the Real Estate Litigation Department at Rose Law Group pc., and can be reached at amartinez@roselawgroup.com.

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