By Randee McDonald
The word easement is defined as, “a right to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose.” In its simplest terms, a property easement allows for a third party to use a portion of someone else’s property for a specific use. Most commonly we see this as a “right of way” issue or to allow service maintenance – such as utility companies – to access a certain piece of land.
Easements can also exist to address a number of issues. Reasons for easements can differ depending on the situation, such as an easement of necessity, a private easement, or a utility easement.
One example would be if the only way to access property B from a main road is to go through an alley or driveway that is located on a neighboring property A, then property A would most likely be burdened with an easement that benefits property B.
Another example would be if electric lines are located above property A and property B, then both properties would most likely be burdened with easements that benefit the electric company so that they can access either property in the event they need to repair or maintain those electric lines.
But what does this all actually mean to the homeowner who has the easement attached to their property?
If you have an easement attached to your land, you are not permitted to build any structure on or over the easement land, or to use it in any way that interferes with the rights of the party benefitting from the easement. Failure to comply could actually result in the new structure built on the easement to be destroyed, or the homeowner could even be sued.
When you work with Cumberland Title, you can be confident that we conduct thorough title searches and will disclose if we find any easements – as well as liens or encroachments – and we will share that information on the title report prior to closing. And as always, we are here to answer any questions you may have about the title search process, or any other aspect of your real estate transaction and closing.