Well, an easement grants someone else a limited set of rights to use a part of your property for a specific purpose. A simple example of a common easement is when a utility company places their pipes, cables, or other equipment over a property and affirmative easement lets the property owner utilize their utilities.
Likewise, your neighbour and you sharing a driveway is another common easement. In a few cases, one of you will own the piece of land, but the other neighbor will possess the right to the common easement.
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Can a property owner block an easement?
A property owner cannot block an easement that has previously been granted. While a few property owners may not bother about this legal situation, it could be quite frustrating for others. As mentioned earlier, easements allow certain people access to and the right to use property (or a part of it) that they don’t own. That is exactly why it’s important to check for easements when you buy a piece of land, especially if you don’t want someone else gaining access to your property.
How to determine whether there is an easement on property?
Before you buy a property, it’s crucial that you hire a real estate attorney who can help you check whether or not there is an easement on the prospective property. Of course, you can do it yourself as well.
Take the following steps to determine whether or not there is an easement on a property:
- Check with the county land records office or county clerk’s office to find out if the prior deed has hints of an easement.
- Contact the utility companies so that you can know whether they have any easements on your property.
- Ensure you obtain a warranty deed from the current property owner; if there are easements on the property, it will show.
- Get a survey of the property to check if there are easements and where they are exactly located.
- Resort to a title company to perform a title search of the specific property. This will let you know of not only easements but also other burdens on the property.
Well, if there is an easement on the property, it will be listed on your deed. What you’ll have to check is whether you are the property owner who should allow your neighbour to access your property (servient property owner), or if you are the easement user (dominant property owner). Note that if you’re the servient property owner, you cannot block access to the easement.
What to do if a property owner tries to obstruct an easement?
While property owners don’t have the right to block an easement, a few might try doing it. Needless to mention, these situations could be a little annoying, particularly if the easement allows access to your yard or residence. In such circumstances, you should try to stay calm, because an argument between the two of you might lead to physical violence.
Your best bet is to contact a real estate attorney or any other type of legal consultant who can suggest how to proceed. Easements typically don’t expire over time.
In other words, a property owner cannot do much legally to keep you from accessing this piece of land. In case they choose to do so, it is best to allow your attorney to deal with it. If the property owner doesn’t remove the easement blockage, you may have to allow the court to handle the case.
What if someone is illegally using an easement?
If you’ve got an easement in your garden, some people might take advantage of it to gain access to the woods, a river, or anything else located nearby. If you see that someone is using the easement illegally, you should contact the authorities rather than deal with it on your own. Ensure that you don’t create any potentially dangerous situations. Seeking the advice of an attorney is also a good idea if someone is accessing your easement illegally.
What to do if the easement boundaries are not clear?
If the easement boundaries are not clear in the property deed, a property owner could justify a blockage to the easement using this. Such situations are often troublesome because they are likely to result in court cases. You can deal with such circumstances by having a strong legal team by your side.
What are the consequences of having an easement on your property?
It doesn’t matter whether you are the servient property or dominant property of an easement; an easement can negatively affect your property value.
Many people may not want to buy a property that has an easement on it, so it generally takes a longer time to sell the property.
If your neighbour and you share a driveway because of an easement, and if you are the servient property, you cannot block your neighbour from accessing and using the driveway.
On the other hand, if you’ve provided your neighbour access to a part of your land for a specific purpose, and this is not mentioned in the deed, it is called an “easement in gross.” For instance, you may choose to let your neighbour use your property to access the woods behind your house.
This type of easement doesn’t apply to a new buyer, and it is only between the easement holder and you. Simply put, if the easement holders next neighbour relocates, you don’t have to give access to the same easement, or any other easement, to the new owner.
As far as utility easements are concerned, they spell trouble, because if you intend to build a new structure such as an in-ground pool on your land, you might not be able to do so, because there’ll be cables and pipes running in the way. Similarly, if the utility company has erected poles or power lines in the easement, it could certainly affect the value of your property.
Is it possible to remove an easement from your property? If yes, how?
In some cases, you can remove an easement from your own property’s deed. A few ways to do that include:
- The easement has expired.
- Bringing a lawsuit to challenge the easement.
- The easement holder agrees to remove the easement and signs a deed.
- The easement isn’t in use any longer, and the servient property owner isn’t the cause of the fault.
- The servient property owner buys the dominant property, eventually removing the easement.
How do easements affect renovations or additions?
If you’re planning an addition or a renovation to your property, it’s important to find out whether or not there are any easements on your property. It’s possible to check that by looking over the property paperwork. You can find easements on plats, deeds, and other homeowner documents. For example, if you find that your neighbour has received an easement to access a nearby lake, you cannot expand, renovate, or even place a dustbin that would obstruct your neighbour’s access.
Can you exercise your legal property rights when you have an easement?
Yes, you can. If you’re prevented from enjoying your property rights or legal rights through a right of way (like building a fence or planting trees on your own property), you should contact an attorney who will assist you with what you can do regarding the interference with your property rights when having an easement.
I hope now you have a clear understanding of the fact that a property owner cannot block an easement that has already been given. So, when you’re buying a property, you should go through all the documents properly and find out if there are any easements on the property. In the same way, if you’re the easement user, you should be well aware of the legal aspects of accessing and using the easement on your neighbour’s property. If you sense any trouble regarding easements, you should contact a top real estate law attorney who can easily guide you on the right path.
People also ask
Can a property owner block an easement UK?
In the UK, a property owner cannot just block an easement unless it is in the legally binding documents. An easement is a legal right of way that a person or entity has over another’s property. This right is usually created in writing, such as on the property deed or title, or by a court order.
Can a property owner block an easement in Texas?
In general by law, a property owner in Texas cannot block an easement unless there is a legal basis for doing so. An easement is a legal right that a person or entity has to use another person’s property for a specific purpose, such as accessing a public road or utility lines.
Who is responsible for easement maintenance UK?
In the UK, the responsibility for maintaining an easement depends on the terms that were agreed upon when the easement was created. The enforceable obligations and liabilities will depend on the language of the easement grant agreement, or on the arrangement between the property owners.
How much does an easement cost in Texas?
The cost of an easement in Texas can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as location, the type of easement needed, and negotiation between parties. In Texas, the minimum cost for obtaining an easement, whether it’s for a road, pipeline, utility or any other usage, is $100 per rod.