What You Should Know About Easements
May 30th, 2012
May 30th, 2012
Suppose you recently bought a house with a beautiful landscaped backyard that you love. Then one morning, the local electric company shows up, claiming they have an easement through part of your yard so they can maintain the lines. However, you didn’t know anything about this. What can you do? Unfortunately – nothing. Since the electric company has the right to access their lines, all you can do is watch while they dig up your yard.
To keep from being taken by surprise when purchasing property, 1) you need to understand what easements are; and 2) you should research the property deed to see if any easements exist for your property.
An easement allows designated individuals the right to use or access your land or property for a particular purpose even though they don’t own your property. Easements can be granted to a neighbor, for example, so they can access their property through yours; or to a company, like the gas or electric utility, so they can bury and maintain lines. Easements are usually outlined in a legal agreement or deed that the landowner must sign and that is recorded with the local assessor’s office. An easement is permanent until both the landowner and the other person/entity agree to remove it. Easements remain in place even when the property is sold.
You may also hear the term, “right-of-way.” A right-of-way refers to the actual land that is being used for a road, transmission lines or other means of access.
Some different types of easements include:
When you purchase a home, make sure you know about any possible easements on your property. You’ll need to know the exact location of the easement, its size, how it’s used, and if there are any restrictions associated with it. For example, you may not be able to build any structures within the easement area or put up a fence which would keep others from accessing the easement. Also you may be required to maintain the area, such as mowing the grass or shoveling a walkway. And never assume that just because the easement isn’t currently being used, that it likely won’t be used in the future.
If you have any questions about removing a easement from your deed, you should talk with a real estate attorney.
Also, talk to an experienced mortgage broker before you buy a home or property to determine the best loan option for your situation.
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