What is an Easement?
An easement is a legal right to use another person's land for a particular purpose. Easements continue to run with the land even if a change of ownership occurs. A property owner has no right to interfere with the rights of an easement holder. Easements are almost always in writing and can be located in a deed, title papers and in the local County Recorder's Office.
What Types of Easements Are There?
There are many types of easements. These include:
- Utility Easements: These easements are usually given to a utility company or local government
- Private Easements: Easements that are usually sold by a property owner to another for use of a driveway, water pipes, etc.
- Easements by Necessity: If it is absolutely necessary to cross someone's land, an easement by necessity usually exists
- Prescriptive Easements: If your neighbor has been using a portion of land for a certain period of time, he may have a prescriptive easement
- Easement by Estoppel: If a neighbor spends a substantial amount of money, labor, etc. towards the land, a court may grant an easement to the neighbor by estoppel.
- Easement in Gross: An easement that belongs to a person or entity and only involves one piece of land.
- Negative Easements: A negative easement prevents a neighbor from using land in a certain way.
How Can I Prevent Someone from Acquiring an Easement on My Land?
There are several preventative measures you can use. These include:
- Put it in writing: If you let someone use your land, be sure to make a written agreement that specifies that you are not granting an easement
- Give permission: When a property owner grants permission to another it can prevent a prescriptive easement from being granted
- Post signs and regularly check your land: This will help a property owner determine if someone is using their property without permission
How Do You Terminate an Easement?
Easements "run with the land" when ownership changes hands and generally have no set termination date. However, easements can be given set conditions such as time limits, or be terminated in other situations depending on the type of easement.
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Last Modified: 09-26-2012 02:22 PM PDT