Have you been approached by a pipeline company wishing to install a pipeline on your property?
You would think that the first time you learn of this would be when a company representative approaches you with an offer. But more often than not, the common scenario begins and ends with you coming home from work to find a pickup truck and team of surveyors placing hundreds of stakes into your property.
What makes matters worse is that you don’t know what your property rights are or what you’re risking by allowing a pipeline company access to survey your property.
If you’re a landowner and have had your property surveyed without your knowledge or permission, or a company seeking to survey approaches you and you’re unsure of your property rights, ask yourself the following questions:
Your Right: Am I being paid for allowing survey access?
It’s your property to do what you wish with, but you’re responsible for it. If you allow a surveyor access on your property without an official agreement or payment and they damage your property, guess who has to pay to have it fixed.
That’s right. You.
Most pipeline companies don’t offer compensation for surveying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t demand payment.
In some cases, a pipeline company may have the right to survey under state law without making payment, but it would have to petition a court for an order of access beforehand. The company would have to demonstrate to the court that the pipeline would benefit the people of West Virginia, and even then, the right to survey would be strictly limited.
Nine times out of ten, it’s easier for the company to pay for access rather than go to court.
Your Risk: Am I liable if a surveyor is injured on my property?
Each and every landowner has the duty to inspect their property and either warn of or make safe any dangerous conditions on their property if they allow a third party onto their property.
So, while you may not be liable for a surveyor that is injured while on your property without permission, you may be liable for a surveyor you grant access to your property.
Your Right: Can I control when surveyors access my property?
You have the right to know when surveyors access your property and what areas of your property will be accessed. You should be given adequate advance notice and the ability to accompany the surveyors while they perform their work.
Surveying should only take place on a date and time that is convenient for you.
The bottom line is that your property is your property. You have the right to control who goes on your property and what they do while there.
Gold, Khourey & Turak has represented numerous landowners’ who’ve been faced with surveying issues and operate in the West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania areas. We have been successful in ensuring that landowners like you are properly compensated and protected when surveying takes place.
If you’re facing a surveying issue or have been confronted by a surveyor to access your property but aren’t sure how to approach it, we’re here to help. Call GKT at (304) 845-9750 to schedule your free consultation.