A Basic Guide For Easements

During the due diligence portion of the home-buying process, you will need to verify whether there are easements on the property you intend to purchase. An easement is a legal right to access or use your property for a specific purpose. There are multiple ways to learn about the existence of an easement:

  • Through a title search
  • Through your real estate attorney 
  • By obtaining a survey of the land

Regarding easements, remember the terms “dominant tenement” and “servient tenement.” Imagine a house (House A) that is in front of another house (House B). House B needs access to the main road, but to do so, House B’s driveway must go through House A’s property. In this example, House B would be the dominant tenement, whereas House A would be the servient tenement. 

Why? Because the home that benefits from the easement is considered dominant. This is also an example of an easement by necessity. These occur when the dominant tenement owner must cross over the servient tenement’s owner’s land to access their own. These are derived through court orders. 

Other Types of Easements You May Encounter 

Many of the scenarios you will encounter involve the property’s adjacent neighbor. An example of this would be a party easement. For instance, imagine two city homes that are only separated for thirty feet. The owners of the homes park their cars behind their respective houses. However, they share a driveway. Each homeowner uses the driveway to get to the back of their property. Because of an easement, they can use the other person’s land to gain access to their own property. These are referred to as ingress and egress. 

Another common type of easement you may discover pertains to utility lines. Electric, water, or gas lines could run through your property (either above or below ground). The appropriate utility company may be granted an easement to access your land to install or maintain these lines. The utility company does not own the land that the utility lines are on. They can use your land for a specific purpose. 

There are also easements by prescription. Let’s go back to the opening scenario where House A sits in front of House B. This time, House B simply builds a dirt road to get to their property. This dirt road is out in the open. Only the owner of House B uses it, and he does so for a continuous period of 10 years. A judge may grant an easement by prescription because House B used House A’s land without their approval but with their knowledge. 

Get in Contact With a Real Estate Attorney Today 

Whether you need advice regarding an existing easement on your property or are about to enter into a residential or commercial real estate transaction, Gamalski Law will guide you through the process. Our role is to watch out for your long-term interests during one of the most significant financial transactions of your life. Contact us today to set up your free phone consultation.

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Andrea L. Gamalski Attorneys at Law

Andrea L. Gamalski understands how important it is to have a compassionate and empathetic family law attorney who fights hard for their clients in the courtroom–mainly because she’s been one of these clients herself.

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