What Are Easement Disputes?

 

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What Do You Need to Know About Easement Law?

If you are dealing with easement disputes, attorneys from Perigon Legal Services can offer information, advice, and advocacy. Call us for a consultation.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on January 23, 2023.

You love your new home, but you’ve noticed something disconcerting. One of your neighbors seems overly comfortable coming onto what you consider “your property.” Upon investigating, you discover that the property came with an easement.

What is an easement? Easements allow someone access to another person’s land/property for a specific purpose.

Easements exist for a variety of reasons, but the most common one is for certain utilities to be able to access land. An easement allows the utility company to cross private property with their pipe or cable, but it is not the same as owning or having any other rights to a property.

Easement disputes often arise shortly after purchasing a property. This is because easements tend to “run with the property” (meaning they continue even if the property is sold), and buyers may not be aware of the easement if they do not do their due diligence during the purchasing process.

A qualified real estate attorney in Atlanta from Perigon Legal Services can offer solutions and protect your rights.

Types of Property Easements

Generally, easements are created out of necessity (or convenience) for neighboring property owners or other entities, either expressly or by implication.

  • Express easements are conveyed in writing and are typically created by a deed or grant.

  • An implied easement (a.k.a. “driveway easement”) arises from the actions of the parties that show an intention to create an easement. An example of this is where one property owner must use the land of another to access their own property.

  • Easements may also arise by prescription or compulsory purchase and sale.

Some easements benefit the owner of the land it’s attached to. This type of easement is usually created when there is an agreement between the owner of the land and the person who wants to use it for something like a driveway, walkway, or utility line. 

Some common types of easements are: 

  1. Easement Appurtenant
  2. Easement in gross 
  3. Quasi-easements 

Appurtenant easements are those that run with the land and usually affect only one property. In gross easements, rights concerning land usage are vested in a person instead of a piece of land. Quasi-easements are similar to implied easements, in that they come from a prior or existing use of land.

How Do Property Easement Disputes Work?

Easements are typically created by deed, contract, court order, or other agreement. Some easements are created when someone uses a right-of-way over another person’s property without permission but continues to do so over a long period. The law assumes that this use was intended to be permanent and will eventually become an easement unless otherwise agreed upon.

Property easements could be classified as either affirmative or negative. An affirmative easement is an agreement between two parties wherein one party agrees to allow another party access to their land for a specific purpose (such as for installing utilities). A negative easement is an agreement between two parties wherein one party agrees not to use their land in a certain way (such as building on top of it).

Property easement disputes often arise when one party violates the terms of the written or implied agreements regarding their or someone else’s land.

According to state laws governing real estate transactions, property easements will be enforced by law if they are valid and exist on the deed to the property. With a real estate lawyer by your side, property owners may feel more confident in dealing with these legal matters.

Why Do Easement Disputes Arise?

An easement dispute is a common issue that arises when the owner of one property (the servient estate) grants an easement to the owner of another property (the dominant estate). Easements are typically granted for limited purposes, such as using a driveway or gaining access to water or other utilities. They may also be granted for the benefit of both properties.

Disputes often arise when one person feels that the other is abusing the terms of the easement agreement. They can also arise when one party uses an easement, and another party wants to use it too.

In many cases, one of the property owners may try to install a fence around the easement or otherwise work to keep animals and strangers off the property. Taking this type of action can create tension and lead to conflict.

How to Resolve Easement Disputes

You may be able to amicably resolve disputes over fences or property boundaries with a face-to-face meeting or by sending a demand letter. If you are unable to amicably handle the dispute verbally or in writing, it may be time to take legal action and consult an attorney.

The right legal advisor can help you navigate this type of matter and represent you if the issue goes to court. If you’re facing an easement dispute, consider enlisting the help of a reputable real estate litigation attorney who can advise you on your options, protect your property rights, and guide you through the process.

Does Title Insurance Cover Easement Disputes?

 

Title insurance covers easement disputes in the event that a party has an easement on the property. Many consider a title insurance policy to be one of the most important elements of a real estate transaction. Some title insurances provide coverage for any title defects found during a title search’s due diligence process. It will also cover future disputes related to those defects, such as easements or encroachments.

A qualified attorney can help you with the title search process in Georgia or other questions about your title. Contact an experienced attorney from Perigon Legal Services for advice.

How Can an Easement Dispute Lawyer Help You?

A Georgia easement dispute lawyer can help you in a variety of ways. The first and most obvious way is to help you get access to the easement that you have the legal right to. This may be because the easement is being denied or because someone else has encroached on your property.

A real estate attorney can also help with other easement disagreements, such as boundary disputes of an easement or conflicts about who has the right to use a particular easement. They can assess ownership documents, prepare legal documents, and may also assist with an alternate dispute resolution method.

Finally, estate & business lawyers in Marietta can also advise you on how to avoid future problems with your property by drafting agreements and covenants for your land. For questions about real estate legal matters, contact Perigon Legal Services.

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