News & Thought Leadership from Sulloway & Hollis

October 1, 2018

NH Supreme Court Reviews Common Law Rule Regarding Rights of Servient Landowners

The New Hampshire Supreme Court had a recent opportunity to review and consider changing the New Hampshire long-standing Common Law rule relative to limitations on the rights of servient landowners to relocate easements across their properties. In the case of Stowell v. Andrews, No. 2017-0151, 2018 N.H. LEXIS 168 (N.H. Sept. 14, 2018), the servient landowner urged the New Hampshire Supreme Court to adopt the position of the Restatement (Third) of Property: Servitudes, Section 4.8 (3) which would give a servient landowner the right to relocate an easement across his/her property so long as the new location does not significantly lessen the utility of easement, burden the holder of the easement or frustrate the purpose of the easement. The New Hampshire Supreme Court declined the invitation to change its long-standing rule, and reaffirmed that, without the consent of the easement holder, a servient landowner may not unilaterally relocate an easement across the servient landowners property.

The Court’s decision can be viewed here.