If you own a pond and someone else owns land that butts up against the pond, does that mean they can use the pond?

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If you own a pond and someone else owns land that butts up against the pond, does that mean they can use the pond?

I own a large pond. My neighbor has land that’s right next to the pond. They seem to think that they can use the pond because they have access to it. I say they don’t because I’m the one that owns and pays the taxes on it as well as up keep. I don’t mind them using or enjoying the pond but they should have to ask for permission I would think? Am I correct? After all the pond is my property just as if it was land.

Asked on May 29, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Is your neighbor able to enter and exit his/her property without going through your pond?  If the answer is no, the neighbor may have an easement by necessity to go through the pond to enter and exit his/her property.  If the answer is yes, the neighbor should not be using the pond without your consent.

If the neighbor has reasonable alternatives for ingress and egress to his/her property and therefore does NOT have an easement by necessity, it would be advisable for you to restrict use of the pond by anyone because if there is an accident on the pond, as a landowner you would be liable for negligence for injuries incurred by the neighbor, a guest or a trespasser.

Another issue of concern is that if the neighbor continues using  your pond, sometime in the future the neighbor may have an ownership claim to your pond based on adverse possession.  In order for the neighbor to assert a claim to your pond based on adverse possession, the neighbor would have to satisfy the following requirements: continuous use, hostile use, open and notorious use of the pond  and actual use of the pond for the statutory period.  Hostile use means in derogation of the true owner's rights.  Open and notorious use means that you had notice of the use of the pond.


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