Understanding easements on real property

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Real property is an asset for individuals in the Central Valley. From agricultural land to residential property, land and the structures on it can hold extensive actual and intrinsic value for those who own it. Many property owners take proactive steps to protect their tracts and properties from physical and financial harm.

However, in some situations, individuals may find that others have or wish to assert property rights over parts of their parcels. This post will look at easements and how they can impact property owners’ interests. It is important for readers to recognize that this post offers no legal advice and that the contents of this blog should be read as information only.

What is an easement?

Easements can be confusing to understand because they may appear contradictory. An easement is a property interest in land that the easement holder does not own. In other words, an easement gives a person a legal right to use land that is owned by another person.

Easements often take the form of driveways and means of ingress and egress. For example, readers can imagine a landlocked parcel that has no way of getting to any roads from its borders. The owner of the landlocked parcel may be able to secure an easement over a neighboring parcel in the form of a driveway to get to a road so that the landlocked parcel is usable. The easement holder does not own the parcel over which the driveway passes, but rather the right to use the driveway.

The pitfalls of easements

In the example above, the owner of the landlocked parcel benefits from the easement because it allows they to use and enjoy their parcel in a regular manner. However, the owner of the neighboring parcel may be unhappy with the arrangement. The placement of the easement may disrupt their planned use of their parcel, and the passage of their neighbors through their land may create various problems for them over time.

When negotiating potential easements on real property, it can benefit both sides of the claim to involve counsel. Attorneys who practice real property and land use law can help their clients work toward beneficial outcomes that protect their rights and interests.


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