When a business owner or new homeowner purchases a piece of real estate, they may be surprised to find that someone else is permitted by law to be on their property for a specific purpose. This right is known as an easement. Easements in California can be established in four different ways.
One way to establish an easement in California is through an express grant. Express easements are those where the landowner actually gives an easement to someone else. This can be done through a deed, contract or other written document.
Another way to establish an easement in California is through implication. Implied easements are created when a piece of land is split into two or more part, but it is intended by both owners that the owner of one part of the land is permitted to enter the other part of the land for a specific purpose. However, such easements only exist if there is a strict necessity for them. Strict necessity exists when no other convenient way to access the property is available. However, in contrast to express easements, implied easements do not have to be written.
A third way to establish an easement in California is through necessity. These are similar to implied easements. However, while implied easements may exist out of convenience, an easement by necessity exists when no alternative access to one part of the property is available at all.
Finally, easements in California can be established by prescription. This takes place when a person has openly, notoriously and continuously for at least five years been using the easement. The person using the easement must be doing so without the landowner’s permission. Easements by prescription need not be in writing.
Ultimately, if you purchased a piece of property that has an easement on it or if you believe you have a right to an existing easement on another’s property, it is important to seek legal advice. Easements are legal constructs, and this post cannot promise any specific result with regards to easement issues. Attorneys in California may be a useful resource to those with questions about easements.