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Can I Refuse a Utility Easement in Missouri? 

Posted on November 18, 2023

If you own property, the utility company may want to access your property to reach utility lines or make improvements. Utility companies might request an easement for these purposes. The experienced real estate attorneys at TdD Attorneys at Law can review your situation and explain your options.

What Is a Utility Easement?

Utility easements give utility companies the right to access private property. This allows them to maintain sewer, water, electricity, and cable lines. They may also be able to access infrastructure on the property or make improvements for the good of the community. Some easements could limit rights related to your property, such as prohibiting you from installing new equipment or planting trees that might interfere with power lines.

Missouri Law on Utility Easements

Missouri law allows utility companies to procure easements through formal condemnation proceedings or negotiations. This applies to easements for all of the following:

  • Private utility companies
  • Public utilities
  • Rural electric cooperatives
  • Municipally owned utilities
  • Pipelines
  • Railroads

The easements are determined by the particular use for which the property was obtained as outlined in the conveyance instrument or the condemnation petition. If the utility company wants to use the property beyond these guidelines, they must initiate an additional condemnation proceeding or by entering into new negotiations for this use and paying appropriate compensation to the property owner. This applies if the utility company wants to do any of the following:

  • Exclude the current owner of the property from a greater-sized area than originally described
  • Impose a greater area burden than was originally described

The court can consider fair compensation to the property owner in a condemnation proceeding when making an award. If a property owner prevails in a legal action regarding expanded use by a utility company, they can recover damages for attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses.

What Are the Potential Legal Effects of a Utility Easement?

At first, you may not be concerned about a utility easement. After all, you probably want your electric and water provider to be able to fix any problems you have with your lines. However, utility easements could cause adverse consequences and decrease the value of your property, by potentially:

  • Preventing you from blocking access to the affected area of your land
  • Not erecting any buildings, trees, or extensions around power lines or buried cable
  • Having to keep utility infrastructure on your property that is unsightly

An experienced lawyer can review your case and explain if you have the right to deny a utility easement.

Your Right to Deny Utility Easements

Just because a utility company requests an easement does not mean that you have to grant it. You have the right to deny the easement. Alternatively, you could try to negotiate a more favorable resolution with the utility company. An experienced lawyer can help you with this or with challenging the easement.

Contact Us for Help Regarding Utility Easements

If a utility company is demanding access to your property, you may have options available to you. The knowledgeable real estate lawyers at TdD Attorneys at Law can help. We can help you with any issues that arise during an easement dispute.  Let us explain your legal rights and options to you during a free case review.

Contact us today to get started.