Knowing your facts can mean the difference between a good deal and a bad deal; a successful transaction and a failed one. If you are involved in Southern California real estate or property development and you haven't yet brushed up on all things easement and rights of way related, now is the time.
Facts You Need to Know About Easements:
- An easement is the right to use another person's land for a specific purpose. It can involve general use of the property or a specific/designated portion of the property.
- When you have a right of way easement, you have the right to travel across the property owned by someone else.
- In some situations, an easement can benefit a property. For instance, providing access to public property for owners of a property that otherwise have no easy/convenient access by adding an easement and incorporating it into the deeds of both properties.
- In some situations, an easement can benefit an individual. For instance, granting an easement to another individual without adding the easement to the deed (this type of easement generally expires on a certain date or upon the death of the individual to which it was granted).
- In some situations, an easement can benefit an entity or business. For instance, an easement can provide a utility company with the right to put in power lines or bury pipeline through a parcel of land. A developer may have an easement in place allowing it to erect and maintain a well benefitting multiple properties. This type of easement will be included in the deed description for the properties involved and remain in place when property ownership changes hands.
- If an easement is in place, the owner of the property on which the easement lies usually cannot build structures within the area or use any fencing that would prevent access (or make accessing the easement difficult). Additional can be prohibited as well, depending upon the easement, the property and the purpose of the easement.
- In some situations, easements can affect property values: if there are a number of easements on one property that, combined, could severely limit the use of the property, high tension power lines installed on an easement an be seen as a health risk by some potential buyers, some potential buyers may be discouraged simply by the fact that others have a right to use the property.
- Don't assume that just because an easement isn't currently in use that it will not ever be in use. The individual that benefits from the easement can decide to enforce their use of it as long as it is a part of the property's deed.
If you need to discuss easements in detail or if you are interested in finding out how to terminate an easement that is already in place, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern California real estate attorneys at The Law Office of Retz & Aldover LLP today.