What is an easement?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2024 | Real Estate Disputes

Property owners who are considering purchasing a property have to do their due diligence before they make the purchase. One thing that they need to look for is whether there is an easement attached to any particular property.

Easements are a legal right of one party to use another person’s property. It doesn’t transfer ownership. Instead, it sets specific conditions wherein a property can be used by someone other than the owner. As such, there are several things property owners should know about easements in case they come across one as they do their due diligence on a property.

Types of easements

The most common types of easements are utility easements and right-of-way easements. Utility easements allow utility companies to install and maintain infrastructure like water pipes, sewer lines or electrical power lines on or across a property. Right-of-way easements provide access to another property, which can be crucial in rural areas where others may landlock properties.

Impact on property ownership

Easements can affect how the property owner uses their land. For instance, if a utility easement is on the property, the owner might be restricted from building structures or planting certain types of vegetation over the easement area. Property owners must know where easements are located on their land and understand the restrictions involved.

Rights and responsibilities

Both the property owner and the easement holder have rights and responsibilities. The property owner must not obstruct the easement use, while the easement holder must not exceed the rights granted by the easement.

Terminating easements

Easements can sometimes be terminated or modified. This might happen if the easement’s purpose is no longer relevant or if the property owners and the easement holder agree to terminate it. Some easements have a set term and expire automatically, but others may continue indefinitely until legally extinguished.

Understanding easements and how they can impact property usage is important for aspiring property buyers. Working with someone familiar with these matters, therefore, can be beneficial for anyone who is considering purchasing a property.