What is an Easement in Real Estate?

An easement is a legal right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose. It is a nonpossessory property interest, which means that the easement holder does not own the property, but they have the right to use it in a limited way. Easements can be created for a variety of reasons, such as to allow access to a property, to provide utility services, or to preserve a scenic view.

Easements can be for a Variety of purposes

Such as:

  • Access: This type of easement gives the easement holder the right to cross another person’s property to get to their own property. For example, a homeowner may have an easement to cross their neighbor’s property to get to their driveway.
  • Utilities: Utility companies often have easements to install and maintain power lines, water pipes, and other utilities on private property.
  • Drainage: Drainage easements allow water to flow from one property to another. This type of easement is often used to prevent flooding.
  • View: A view easement gives the easement holder the right to maintain a view from their property. For example, a homeowner may have a view easement to prevent their neighbor from building a fence that would block their view of the ocean.

Types of Easements

There are several different types of easements, each with its own specific purpose. Some of the most common types of easements include:

  • Utility easements: These easements allow utility companies to install and maintain power lines, water pipes, and other utilities on private property.
  • Access easements: These easements give the easement holder the right to cross another person’s property to get to their own property. This type of easement is often used for driveways, walkways, and other access points.
  • Drainage easements: These easements allow water to flow from one property to another. This type of easement is often used to prevent flooding.
  • View easements: These easements give the easement holder the right to maintain a view from their property. This type of easement is often used to prevent obstructions that would block the view.
  • Mining easements: These easements allow mining companies to access and extract minerals from private property.
  • Easements for light and air: These easements give the easement holder the right to receive light and air from another person’s property. This type of easement is often used to prevent buildings from being built too close together.
  • Easements for gas and oil pipelines: These easements allow gas and oil companies to install and maintain pipelines on private property.
  • Easements for recreational purposes: These easements allow people to use another person’s property for recreational purposes, such as hiking, biking, or fishing.

Easements can also be classified by how they are created. Some of the most common types of easements include:

  • Express easements: These easements are created in writing, such as in a deed or contract.
  • Implied easements: These easements are created by law or by the actions of the property owners. For example, if two neighbors have used a shared driveway for many years, the law may create an implied easement that allows them to continue using the driveway.
  • Easements by prescription: These easements are created by continuous and uninterrupted use of another person’s property for a certain period of time, typically 20 years.

Easements can also be classified by whether they are appurtenant or in gross.

  • Easements appurtenant: These easements benefit a specific piece of property, called the dominant tenement. The easement runs with the land, meaning that it transfers to subsequent owners of the dominant tenement.
  • Easements in gross: These easements benefit a specific person or entity, but not a specific piece of property. They do not run with the land and do not transfer to subsequent owners.

How to find out if your property has an Easement

There are a few ways to find out if your property has an easement:

  • Review your property’s title report. The title report will list any easements that have been recorded against the property. You can obtain a title report from a title company or a real estate attorney.
  • Check the public records at your county recorder’s office. Many counties have online databases where you can search for easements and other recorded documents.
  • Contact the utility companies that serve your area. Utility companies often have easements to install and maintain power lines, water pipes, and other utilities on private property.
  • Talk to your neighbors. They may be aware of any easements that affect your property, or your property may benefit from an easement that affects their property.

What to do if you have an Easement on your property

If you have an easement on your property, there are a few things you should do:

  • Understand the easement agreement. If there is a written easement agreement, review it carefully to understand your rights and the rights of the easement holder. The easement agreement should describe the specific purpose of the easement, the location of the easement area, and any restrictions on the use of the easement area.
  • Communicate with the easement holder. If you have any questions or concerns about how the easement is being used, talk to the easement holder. It is important to maintain a good relationship with the easement holder to avoid disputes down the road.
  • Maintain the easement area. This includes keeping the area clear of debris and obstructions. You may also be responsible for mowing the lawn, trimming trees, and making other repairs to the easement area.
  • Get permission before making any changes to the easement area. This includes building fences, planting trees, or making other changes that could affect the easement holder’s use of the area.

Conclusion

Easements are a complex topic, but it is important to understand them if you own or are buying property. By understanding your rights and the rights of the easement holder, you can avoid disputes and protect your property rights.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an easement an example of?

An easement is a legal right to use another person’s property for a specific purpose. Some common examples of easements include:

  • Right of way: This type of easement allows someone to cross another person’s property to get to their own property or to get to a public road.
  • Utility easement: This type of easement allows a utility company to install and maintain utility lines on another person’s property.
  • Drainage easement: This type of easement allows water to flow from one property to another.
  • View easement: This type of easement gives someone the right to maintain a view from their property.

What is another common name for an easement?

Easements are also sometimes called servitudes or rights-of-way.

What are easements and why are they important to understand?

Easements are important because they allow people to use other people’s property in a way that is beneficial to both parties. For example, a right of way easement may allow a farmer to cross their neighbor’s property to get to their field, or a utility easement may allow a power company to install power lines on a property owner’s land.

What is the difference between encroachment and easement?

An encroachment is the unauthorized use of another person’s property. An easement is a legal right to use another person’s property for a specific purpose. The key difference is that encroachments are unauthorized, while easements are authorized.

What is an example of encroachment?

An example of encroachment would be a neighbor building a fence on your property line without your permission. Another example would be a utility company installing power lines on your property without an easement.

What are the disadvantages of encroachment?

Encroachments can have a number of disadvantages, including:

  • They can reduce the value of your property.
  • They can make it difficult to sell your property in the future.
  • They can lead to disputes with your neighbors.
  • They can create safety hazards.

What is the most common type of encroachment?

The most common type of encroachment is structural encroachment. This occurs when a neighbor builds a structure, such as a fence, deck, or shed, on your property line without your permission.

How do you solve encroachment problems?

The best way to solve an encroachment problem is to talk to your neighbor and try to resolve the issue amicably. If you are unable to resolve the issue with your neighbor, you may need to take legal action.

What is the best way to discover most encroachments on a piece of property?

The best way to discover most encroachments on a piece of property is to have a land survey done. A land survey will show the exact boundaries of your property and any structures that are encroaching on your property line.

What is the primary danger of allowing an encroachment?

The primary danger of allowing an encroachment is that it could give your neighbor a legal right to use your property. If an encroachment is allowed to exist for a long enough period of time, your neighbor may be able to claim adverse possession of the encroached-upon land.

What does appurtenance mean in real estate?

Appurtenance means that something is attached to or belongs to something else. In real estate, an appurtenant easement is an easement that is attached to a piece of land. This means that the easement passes to any new owner of the land.

What document shows the boundaries and any encroachment to a property?

A land survey shows the boundaries and any encroachment to a property. A land survey is a map of a piece of property that shows the exact boundaries of the property and the location of any structures on the property.

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Razib

Razib is a skilled writer with 5 years of experience specializing in technology, finance, automotive and real estate. A BBA graduate from 2014, Razib's passion for these industries shines through in his informative and engaging content. His ability to break down complex topics and stay current on the latest trends makes him a valuable resource for readers seeking to understand these dynamic fields.

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