What Is an Easement?
If you are purchasing a property or are a real estate investor, you will want to complete a thorough title search to see if there are any clouds on the title. One thing a title search may reveal is an easement against the property. This is an encumbrance that can negatively affect the value of the property because it allows someone else the right to access your property. Here is what you need to know about easements and how they can affect your property rights.
How Easements Work
When someone has an easement on your property, they have the right to access your property according to the terms of the easement. For example, a person may have the right to cross your property to get to their property or a utility company may be able to access power lines or read meters.
Types of Easements
There are many different types of easements that may apply to a case, each of which can affect your property rights differently. Here are a few common types of easements:
Easements by Necessity
These easements grant access to someone who needs this access to get to their own property. For example, you might live in a rural area and your neighbor is landlocked. They cannot leave or enter their property without traversing yours. You typically do not have a right or way to block this type of easement because doing so would impose an undue burden on your neighbor.
A prescriptive easement is recognition of how someone has customarily used the property. For example, you may have a neighbor who continuously parked on your property without your permission. Over time, this use can provide a legal right to the user to access your property. If you believe someone is trying to obtain this right to access your property without your permission, it is important you take legal action to protect your property interests.
A common type of easement in Missouri is a utility easement. This type of easement allows utility companies to access power lines and infrastructure on private property. These easements apply to electric, water, sewer, phone, and cable providers. The easement may limit the right of these companies to access the property only for certain reasons.
Private easements are created for specific purposes. They may even be sold. Property owners have the right to create easements to access their property, such as allowing a neighbor access to install solar panels or a timber company the right to enter your property to remove trees. Private easements can follow the property, so even if the property is sold, the easement may stay intact, which could create an interest contrary to what the new owner would want.
How Easements Are Created
Different easements are created differently, including:
- Expressly – An easement can be created expressly when the owner and recipient of the right enter into a written contract for the easement.
- Impliedly – Easements can also be established through the actions of the parties absent a written agreement.
- By necessity – Easements can also be created by necessity when someone has no option other than to use another’s property, such as the landlocked neighbor.
Potential Problems Caused by Easements
Easements can sometimes be beneficial to property owners, but in other instances, they may create problems, impose limits on ownership rights, and decrease the property’s value. Easements that have not been properly recorded or established through legal means can cause confusion and give rise to competing claims regarding a property.
We Are Here for All of Your Easement Needs
If you are considering granting or asking for an easement or would like to eliminate an easement, reach out to TdD Attorneys at Law for help. We offer a free case review in which we can assess your situation and explain your legal rights and options.
Contact us today to learn more.