What is an easement? James Richardson at Reality Biz News defines easement. “In a nutshell, an easement is the right to use a portion of an estate given not to the owner but to another interested party. Easements are usually awarded to owners whose enjoyment of or access to their property depends wholly on their use of a portion of the property of another. A right of way is a common example of an easement.”
“If you happen to the owner of land that is burdened by an easement (i.e., you have to give up control over a portion of your property in favor of your adjacent landowners), you have to understand that this is not a favor that you grant but a responsibility that you must stand by. However, just because you are bound by law to uphold this doesn’t mean that you are not allowed to look out for your own interests.
“There are some legal steps you can take to recover or at least change the terms on how the property subjected to an easement is to be used. The legal steps that you take, however, can be influenced by how the easement was created or obtained in the first place”.
US laws recognize the right of any landowner to access and exit from their property. If it so happens that land A is inaccessible from a major roadway because other parcels of land come in between them, the courts can issue an order that grants the owner of land A unrestricted use of a portion of the intervening parcels of land.
Adjacent landowners can also agree amongst themselves to create a private road that will allow them access to a major roadway or even just to each other’s properties. They can simply draft a document that they legally agree to. Usually, this agreement also contains provisions that detail exactly how the private road is going to be maintained.
A landowner might lose control over a portion of their property if they tolerated another’s unconsented use of it for a specific period of time. Their tolerance through time is said to have resulted in them losing their right through prescription. The period of tolerated usage varies from state to state.
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