DEAR BOB: I share a private road easement with two neighbors. A new neighbor bought a foreclosed house and took down the original fence to build a new one about 4 feet into the roadway easement, thus narrowing the road. I have heard it is very hard and expensive to fight easement disputes. What should I do? –Dorothy R.

DEAR DOROTHY: Presuming the road easement is recorded against all three property titles, one owner cannot alter those rights such as by extending his fence into the easement area. If you and the other neighbor allow it to continue, he might gain a permanent prescriptive easement to continue using that area as his own.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

I trust you tried being nice to the offending new owner, but without results. To protect your easement rights, you and the other neighbor should get together to hire a local real estate attorney.

Even if a lawsuit must be filed against the offending neighbor, this case sounds like an easy one to reach a court-supervised settlement. But if you do nothing, your easement rights could be greatly diminished.


DEAR BOB: My sister and I jointly own the house where our elderly parents live. It has been a very good investment and a good home for our parents. But I could use some of the equity in the house for tuition payments for schooling my three children. Any suggestion how to get the equity out while allowing my parents to keep it as their home? –Rob L.

DEAR ROB: Either refinance the current mortgage to take cash out, or obtain a new home equity loan. Of course, your co-owner sister would have to agree and you should work out a written agreement with her about your paying the increased payments.


DEAR BOB: I recently refinanced my home loan to get cash out, to lower my interest rate, and to get a better mortgage company. My old mortgage company charged me a $4,000 prepayment penalty when I refinanced with another lender. To my shock, I learned my new mortgage has been sold and assigned to my dreaded old mortgage company with the bad customer service. Do I have any recourse regarding the prepayment penalty? –Scott R.

DEAR SCOTT: Sorry, there is no way to prevent the assignment sale of your new mortgage in the secondary mortgage market. Just because your old nasty lender bought your loan from the originating lender, there is no requirement your prepayment penalty must be refunded.

The new Robert Bruss special report, “Pros and Cons of Today’s Five Best Real Estate Profit Opportunities,” is now available for $5 from Robert Bruss, 251 Park Road, Burlingame, CA 94010 or by credit card at 1-800-736-1736 or instant Internet delivery at Questions for this column are welcome at either address.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center

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