An easement is a legal document that enables one or more people to use a portion of a property for a very specific use. The concept of an easement may easily confuse potential home buyers, and understandably, because most people are not keen on the idea that other parties will have access to a section of their property. Potential home buyers or homeowners can rest assured knowing that an easement is not as scary as it seems, and with clearly detailed rules it can ensure mutual respect between those who share the space.
Easements may also influence the value and utilization of a property. Depending on the nature of the easement, it can hinder how a person uses their home. However, easements can also be beneficial to all parties. Not all easements are the same, so homebuyers or homeowners who are concerned about an easement are encouraged to speak with a real estate lawyer near them for help.
When Easements May Be Necessary
Easements can arise when one party requests from another about being granted access onto a property. The owner of the property can agree to it willingly or not, and the matter may have to be handled in court if a solution is not obtained. It is important to remain vigilant about who and how others can use your property. Easements may be needed on a property in the following situations:
- Easements Implied By Prior Use: In general, this type of easement must entail these elements: one bigger property was subdivided and a portion of the original property was transferred, before the sale the owner of the original property was using one of the subdivided areas for the benefit of another lot, the past use was necessary to enjoy the land, the past use was continuous until transfer, and the prior use was reasonably obvious to all parties involved.
- Easements Created By Eminent Domain: Otherwise called “condemnation”, this is when a government entity or affiliated party uses powers of the constitution to take part of the land in order to benefit the public. Eminent domain enables the government to obtain a section of the land in exchange for compensating the owner. If you are a homeowner and received a notice about an eminent domain, it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer.
- Prescriptive Easements: A property owner openly and consistently uses another’s owned land for a decade (10 years) without expressed permission. The laws for obtaining prescription easements are alike to the requirements for obtaining adverse possession.
- Easements By Implied Necessity: An easement may be established if one property does not have access to an area that is necessary for use and enjoyment. The most common example of this would be when an owner of a property is landlocked unless they use a road or driveway that is owned by their neighbor.
Whether you are a homebuyer confused about an easement or a homeowner who needs assistance with creating or dealing with a current easement, seeing a real estate lawyer is recommended.