Easements: Non-possessory Uses of Property
Easements often benefit properties by providing access, allowing for utilities to reach your property, and allowing for development and subdivision of property. Easements essentially involve the use of property without possessing the property. The person with the right to use the Easement is not the owner of the property upon which the Easement sits – instead, it involves a limited right to use the property.
Easements can be formal, with written agreements that are recorded as a matter of public record. However, Easements can also be created by a pattern of use, which create Prescriptive Easements or Easements by Implication. Ideally, Easements should be put in writing and recorded. Typically, Easements “run with the land”, which means they are effective indefinitely and automatically transfer from one owner to the next.
Often, an Easement “benefits” one parcel of property while “burdening” another. If you have a right to maintain a driveway over your neighbor’s property, your property is “benefited” by the Easement while your neighbor’s property is “burdened” by the Easement.
Easements can create disputes, however. One source of disagreement that often occurs is when a property owner exceeds the limitations set out in the Easement, and over-burdens the other property. This can happen when the use changes, such has when vehicular traffic exceeds a reasonable use, or when the Easement is physically expanded without the other property owner’s agreement. In other cases, a property owner may block the legitimate use of an Easement, or attempt to change to location of an existing Easement.
If you have concerns about an existing Easement, or if you wish to create an Easement or alter an existing Easement, it is important to seek competent legal help for this complex issue. Our firm can assist with all Easement issues and we offer free consultations to discuss your options. Call us at 253.329.1656 or contact us online for assistance.