Maintaining Property Easement Responsibilities
There is an easement granted by Mr. A to Mr. B for ingress and egress over Mr. A’s property. Fallen rocks and trees have recently created a safety hazard in the easement. Is the grantor Mr. A or the grantee Mr. B responsible for the maintenance of the easement?
The parties may state in the recorded easement who is responsible for the maintenance of the easement.
If the parties do not state in the recorded easement who is responsible for the maintenance of the easement, the grantee Mr. B is responsible. The general rule is that the grantee has the responsibility to maintain an easement. Gillespie Land & Irr. Co. v. Gonzalez, 93 Ariz. 152, 169, 379 P.2d 135, 147 (1963) (citing City of Bellevue v. Daly, 15 Idaho 545, 94 P. 1036, 15 L.R.A., N.S., 992 (1908)).
Now, Mr. B and his neighbor, Mr. C, both utilize the easement rather than only Mr. B. If Mr. A and Mr. B allow their neighbor Mr. C to use the easement, who is responsible to maintain the easement, Mr. B or Mr. C?
While Mr. C has no immediate and direct responsibility to Mr. A for maintaining the easement, Mr. B can seek contribution from Mr. C for the necessary repair and maintenance of the easement because Mr. C, also uses and benefits from the easement. Freeman v. Sorchych, 226 Ariz. 242, 250, 245 P.3d 927, 935 (2011). The proportional amount Mr. C would have to contribute is based upon equitable distribution, which is determined by a number of various considerations, such as the amount and intensity of actual use of the easement, the benefits derived from use of the easement, and whether each party received proper notice and a reasonable opportunity to participate in maintenance decisions.