We've already talked about what easements are and how they affect your property as well as how to create one, but there's one more major issue that we haven't covered. In some instances, you may need to terminate a real estate easement. Is it possible?
The simple answer to the question is yes, it is possible under certain circumstances.
Some easements have been in place for many, many years. In this case, it could be effective to institute a lawsuit known as a Quiet Title Action. This is an action that can be initiated in order to quiet the title and remove or terminate the easements. This is a good method to try when the property is old, the description of the property is old, there's never been title insurance, and some of the boundaries are described as fence lines that belong to property owned by neighbors. The Quiet Title Action could be initiated with the intention to make the boundaries as described in the old property description agree with a current survey of the property...even if they aren't along the fence lines described in the old property description. If no disputes arise from the action, the title would be "quieted" and boundaries as defined by the current survey would be applied.
In some cases, an easement was granted for a specific purpose that no longer exists or no longer applies to the property. For instance, if two properties had agreed to provide access to a water source that existed on one property years ago, but the water source no longer exists. The purpose of the original easement was to provide access to water to the second property, but if the water is no longer an issue...the easement no longer applies and should be terminated.
In the case where the two adjacent properties involved in the easement (one allowing access and the other gaining access) are purchased by the same individual or group, the one owner can merge the two properties, and their legal descriptions, into one and the easement would no longer be needed.
If the owners of two properties involved in the easement (dominant property owner that gains access and the servient property owner who provide access) both agree that the easement is not longer of use to the dominant property owner, it can be terminated using a release document issued by the dominant property owner to the servient property owner.
When a prescriptive easement is in place, and the holder of the easement ceases to use the access, action can be initiated to end the easement.
Even though, generally speaking, easements are forever because they "go with the land," there are situations in which an easement is rendered of no further use and reasons that make it possible to terminate an easement. It is important to remember that easements provide legal rights to the use of a property granted to a non-owner of the property so anyone interested in terminating an easement should contact an experienced real estate attorney.
If you have questions regarding terminating an easement on your property or a property you intend to purchase, please get in touch with one of the experienced attorneys at The Law Office of Retz & Aldover LLP as soon as possible.