What rights do you have with an easement? | The Dickerson & Smith Law Group
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What rights do you have with an easement?

When buying real estate, it is very important to find out if anyone else has an easement that goes with the land. Typically, the easement is going to stay with the property, even through a sale, so you may have to honor it even though you had nothing to do with the initial agreement.

An easement is often referred to as a "nonpossessory property interest." This just means that the person who benefits from it does not own the property and cannot claim to possess it in any way, but that he or she is still allowed to use it without obstruction. Even the property owner cannot stop this agreed-upon use. Likewise, the person who holds the easement cannot stop others from also using the land, unless the way they are doing it interferes with that use.

For instance, perhaps you are thinking about buying a home near a lake, on a front lot. There is another house behind it, on a back lot that is cut off from the lake. To get down to the shoreline, there is a small driveway running through the front lot and connecting the back lot with the water.

If the people on the back lot have an official easement allowing them to use the driveway to get to the lake, you cannot stop them from doing so. This means you can't eliminate the driveway and turn it back into grass, you cannot build any structures on it and you cannot put up fences and gates to keep the people on the back lot out. They have a legal right to use your land, even though they only own the back lot.

Confusion over easements is common. Be sure you know your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Easement Basics," accessed June 01, 2018

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