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Who must maintain a property easement?

| Nov 22, 2020 | Real Estate Law |

Having an easement on your property might confuse you as to who possesses the responsibility of keeping it up. As the property owner, you own the easement, but someone else has the right to use the easement portion of your property. That use includes some important responsibilities.

Sometimes it is not always clear if a property owner and an easement holder exercise the same kind of control over an easement. SFgate describes the responsibilities given to an easement holder under law and the rights you have as a property owner.

Easement holders must maintain the easement

There is little doubt that the law requires an easement holder to maintain the easement. This does not necessarily mean the easement holder has to use the easement, but it does point to responsibilities on the part of the easement holder. For example, if the easement is a road across your land, the easement holder should keep up the road so it does not fall into disrepair.

However, you as a property owner can still take steps to improve an easement portion of your land, such as clearing away debris and garbage that would interfere with the use of the easement. Still, the law would likely frown on you doing anything that would interfere with the ability of the easement holder to use or enjoy the easement.

Easement holders must maintain original use

An easement holder may overstep his or her boundaries by not correctly using the easement. If the purpose of the easement is to provide a road through a property or a place to store automobiles, the easement holder cannot switch the use to something else like a business without risking the objection of the property owner. So if your easement holder wants to do something else with the easement, you would likely need to work out a new agreement to use the easement.

Easement holders can terminate the easement

It is possible for your easement to end. Your easement holder may work out a written agreement with you to terminate the easement. The easement holder might, in addition to stopping use of the easement, specifically abandon the easement. Also, the easement could end if there is no further need for the easement, also known as ending an easement by necessity.