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When do you need to honor an easement?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Real Estate

When there is an easement on a property, it means that the property owner has to allow a third party to use that land. Typically, the easement will list a very specific type of use that is permitted. The other party cannot build on the land, they have no ownership rights and they can’t use it in any other way.

An example of this is when two properties are close to a main road, but only one property actually connects to that road. Since the other property is disconnected, an easement may be in place allowing the owner of the back property to use a shared driveway or an access road that goes across the front property. This easement is a fundamental part of how they use their land, so it is necessary.

What if the property changes hands?

Questions sometimes come up when someone else buys the property with the easement. Maybe you recently purchased a piece of land or you’re considering it, but you don’t want to honor that easement. Do you have to do so if you become the new owner?

You may. If it is an easement that runs with the land – or an easement appurtenant – then you do have to honor it. It is essentially considered part of the land itself. You may be the new owner, but that doesn’t give you the right to eliminate the easement.

However, some easements are just personal agreements between two landowners. It may not “run with the land” or be considered part of the property, meaning you can decide if you’d like to honor it or not.

So the first step is to determine what type of easement you’re dealing with. Once you know that, then you can begin looking into the legal options that you have.

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