When someone purchases property or land, it is often assumed that the property could be used for whatever purpose the buyer desires. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes there are ‘easements’ which affect the use of the property. An easement is a legal right to use and/or enter another landowner’s property without possessing it usually through a written agreement. Listed below are common types of easements:
- Utility Easement – gives utility companies the right to use the land for the good of the community. They can install underground lines, utility poles, sewer systems, etc without the permission of the landowner. The easement can also prevent the landowner from making certain changes to the property such as planting trees, building structures that affect power lines and water lines, etc.
- Easement by Necessity –if you need to access your land through the land of another, the law will imply this type of easement over that specific property to prevent you from being landlocked. The easement should be in writing by the two owners and outline how and when the property can be accessed.
- Prescriptive Easement – grants a person the right to cross your land because they have been doing so continuously for ten years or more. The required period of time to establish a prescriptive easement varies by State.
Before purchasing property, the Buyer should carefully inspect title reports, ALTA surveys, search for any recorded or written easements and physically inspect the property to see if there are any prescriptive easements. It is important to consult with a real estate attorney to determine your rights in the use of the property.