An easement allows a second party, such as a utility company or a neighbor, access to a property. Easements are legally documented and remain in effect when a property is bought, sold or inherited. Easements may be discovered by a title company during a title search. To change an easement you may need to hire a real estate attorney.
An easement can take many forms and include a variety of restrictions. Some easements may allow only pedestrians to use a piece of land, while others might allow automobiles but not trucks. The key is to decide what rights are granted under an easement and what rights the owner of the property that gave the easement retained to that land.
A home buyer bought property and land that was for sale "as is" and didn't learn of any easements at the time of closing. Now the buyers have learned they share a water pump and well with a neighbor but didn't hear of this easement before buying the property. The buyers want to know if they have any recourse against the agent and title company for not disclosing these easements.
Even if you have an easement on a property, the property owner retains ultimate rights to the property. So if your driveway is on land with an easement, but you don't own the property, it may be a problem. While you may be able to come to an agreement with a current neighbor, that could change with new neighbors. The easement agreement language is key to understanding this dispute.
When you buy a home, it's the title company's job to find easements during the title search process. What can you do if the title company does not disclose an easement? Easements may include landscaping issues and could affect the way you manage your property. Can you win a lawsuit over an easement?
A homeowner shares a driveway with the neighbor as described in the easement agreement. The neighbor has never contributed to the maintenance costs of the driveway. Now a new owner is insisting upon use of the driveway. Unfortunately, termination of an easement agreement is not easy.
A homeowner has a large development being built next door and the developer needs their land for the sewer lines. How do you determine how much money to charge for an easement? Ilyce gives suggestions on how to handle this negotiation and suggests getting an attorney in on the deal.
Why do we have easements? Easements can be necessary to distribute water and other utilities to the many lots within a development. In some cases, cable companies have easements to bury cable to service a community. In other cases, easements allow the public to walk through private land to reach a public beach. A community can have an easement to walk along your property to reach a boat house on a body of water. Generally, you should never build anything on easement land that could prevent the user of the easement from making use of the easement.
A home buyer has purchased property that is only reached by an inaccessible county road. The seller gave them temporary access through his property until the road is repaired. Now the neighbor is selling his property and will not give them an easement. The easement is not recorded but listed in the contract as access until the road becomes available.
When a neighbor grants an easement and then sells the property, it may mean the remaining neighbor has to renegotiate use of the easement. To figure out exact use of an easement you should review the easement documentation so you understand your rights.
A homeowner would like a guarantee that ranch-style homes would be built adjoining his property in exchange for granting a temporary easement to the developer. Talk to a real estate attorney before you negotiate with the developer. Bring all of the information relating to your property and to the neighbor's property to the meeting, including pictures of your home and the neighbor's lot. Be prepared to talk honestly with your attorney about your wishes and where you might be willing to compromise.