What can I do if 1 of 4 homeowners will not pay their share of a community well?

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What can I do if 1 of 4 homeowners will not pay their share of a community well?

We are a group of 4 homeowners who use a shared well. It is on a separate power meter and it is written in the deeds that all users will share the cost of maintaining and operating the well. The power is in my name and has been for 25 years. However, 1 of the 4 owners hasn’t paid his share ever since he built his house 8 years ago. I have been going down multiple times each summer (summer resident) asking for payment but I just get excuses and vague promises to pay but they never do. What are my options what are my options such as small claims (~$800), lien on house or others? Can I charge interest on the unpaid amount being I have been asking every year and giving bill.

Asked on November 2, 2015 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) You can sue for the money they owe you under the deeds. However, you can most likely only recover the last three (3) years of payments, because the statute of limitations, or time to sue for monies due under a written instrument, in your state is only three years. You can and certainly should try to sue for all--but be prepared that you may be limited to 3 years of recover.
2) You can't get interest, unless the deed  by its terms provides for it.
3) You can't put a  lien on the house until and unles you sue, win, get a judgement in your favor, and he still doesn't pay; then you can use a lien to try and collect.
4) Small claims court is an excellent option given the relatively small amount at stake.


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