Utility easements are sometimes described in a property deed or certificate of title as “those certain utility easements as set out and shown on the map and plat of record in such-and-such a book on page something-or-other.” The existence of these easements doesn’t have much day-to-day effect. If easements are discovered this way, and were not disclosed to you when you purchased the property, any reduction in the value of your home (should that occur) may be compensated through your owner’s title insurance policy. For example, if there's a written easement for a company to use a small corridor along your property to access its equipment in the back, you can't build anything on it or obstruct that corridor. An easement is an interest in land belonging to another person, so that the easement owner has a limited right to use or enjoy the other person’s property. If you do, the utility company can remove the obstruction or even destroy it if it interferes with the easement. The second most common form of easement is for ingress and egress. Utility Easements and Your Rights. An easement is defined as a right, privilege or advantage in real property, existing distinct from the own- ership of the land. The key here is the “specific purpose,” which needs to be defined in detail. Utility companies with easement rights can also tear down a fence to perform maintenance repairs. But many other times it can be tough to challenge an easement, particularly when it comes to prescriptive easements. Sometimes it helps to get an attorney to bargain with the company instead of bringing them to court, especially if it's a small or municipal company, as they may want to settle rather than be sued. Home / Electrical Services / Utility Easements and Your Rights. This is the most common form of easements, which grant utility companies the right to enter a property at no charge to provide their services. An easement is a legal right to use someone else’s land for public or private purposes. An easement allows someone other than the property owner the right to access or cross over the land. While some easements expire, utility easements usually don't. That’s why it’s crucial to find out if there are any easements on a property before you decide to buy it. Our network attorneys have an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Enjoy your stay :). under or on other people’s property in order to serve its customers. Also the city of Biloxi Mississippi moved the public power pole off the easement and replaced it with a new pole on to now property property. The property owner owns the land with the easement and must pay taxes on the easement area. Reference to this document should be incorporated into a correction instrument per s. 236.295, Wis. The majority of easements appurtenant are created by an agreement between property owners or when a subdivision is created. That doesn't mean you can't build a fence, or plant shrubs or flowers along the border, so long as they don't interfere with the utility companies' access to their equipment. As a homeowner, you would probably assume that you’re purchasing the land around your home, front yard, back yard and driveway. Thus, in IRT Property v. Sheehan, 581 So. The majority of these easements are known about and easy to detect, such as easements for telephone and cable lines, and are typically discovered through a title search. Privacy Policy. An easement is a non-possessory interest in the land of another. Sometimes there's nothing in writing showing a utility easement, but an easement is usually implied when you buy a house that comes with running water, cable, electricity or gas, and other utilities. Property owners, however, can take a utility company to court if a company abuses the easement. This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. These easements are typically described in the property deed and include a map defining the area to which the utility or municipality is entitled. The utility company has the right to use the land to maintain and repair their lines, pipes, or equipment. The easement may strictly prohibit such construction, or, alternatively, it may permit such construction so long as the improvement can be constructed in a way not to interfere with the city’s easement rights (which may include the right to access, maintain, repair, construct, and/or inspect the sewer line or underground utility). You also can seek an injunction or restraining order to ensure that the utility accesses the meter without destroying your property. A utility easement will transfer with the land, or "run with the land"—that is, if you sell your house, the next owner buys your house and land with the easement on it. Prescriptive Easements. © 2020 Copyright Regency, Real Estate Brokers, All Rights Reserved. If you have a power company easement on your property, the seller should have disclosed it when you bought the house. It's common for people to lack a clear understanding of easements and the numerous legal problems that can arise in their creation, interpretation, and implementation. Easement in gross. Utility easements are easements that grant the city or a utility company the right to use and access a person’s property for the purposes of providing public utilities such as electricity, water, sewer lines, or gas. If there is, make sure it's something you can live with, as sometimes repairs or maintenance could take days or even weeks. A utility easement is perhaps the most common type and it involves giving easement rights to a utility company or the local municipality (city, county, or state) in general. This type of easement should have been communicated to you when you bought your home, so you know that your land will be used in this manner, and you won’t be unpleasantly surprised. A utility company may have an easement on your property to access an electrical pole. Easement in gross. If the house you buy comes with an easement, you’ll have to comply. For instance, easements are commonly used to grant access across one neighboring property to the next or for public roadways. Use of our products and services are governed by our The rights of utility companies to step foot on your property, as described above, are common, and are referred to as easements in gross. The law of easements is complex. Often, when you review the preliminary title report, you may discover that someone actually has a right-of-way through your property.This is common in the case of a long driveway or a home that may be set back from the street. While you may initially assume the person is trespassing, he may actually have the right to cut through if an easement exists. In such cases, it usually means the utility company has an easement over the property. How Can a Utility Company Create an Easement? Imagine making one last visit to a home you’ve just agreed to purchase, only to see the neighbor in the back cutting through your driveway to get access to the road. If not, you may have recourse. If, for example, a utility company enters your property to read the water meter, and in the process destroys landscaping, you can sue for damages. The content is not legal advice. In this case, it needs to be proven that at some point in the past both properties were privately owned by the same person or entity. The current and future owners can’t use your property for any other purposes other than to access the road. We're available Mon-Fri 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and weekends 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. The Municipality has jurisdiction over utility, public utility, public access, public use, section line, and drainage easements. If your new property is the only access that your neighbors have to the street, you can’t legally block them from getting there. Property Owners' Rights and Utility Easements, How to Get a Surety Bond for Probate Court. This is the most common form of easements, which grant utility companies the right to … But sewer and water lines aren’t always known about and are often discovered after digging starts to put in a swimming pool, for example. The key here is that a hostile environment has to exist; a prescriptive easement can’t arise if you give permission for your neighbor to use and take that portion of the land. An easement is an agreement that allows one party to use the property or land of another party for the specific purpose stated in the easement itself. We are not a law firm, or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. As opposed to buying all the land necessary, utility companies negotiate easement agreements with landowners. This type of easement can’t be transferred when the property sells, and as such, these easements are said to “run with the land.” That means that they’re part of the land’s ownership, and can’t be transferred with the seller upon the sale of the property. Terms of Use and SAMPLE RELEASE OF EASEMENT Document recorded by utility to release rights to easement created by plat. It's important to get a title search or check with the local land records department for the property you want to buy to determine whether there's a utility easement on it. Common types of easements include: Driveway easements; Ingress and egress easement; Utility easements; Right-of-way easements; and; Sewer easements. There are sidewalk easements that allow the public to walk in front of your property, as long as they stay on the sidewalk. Just because your name is on title of the new home you’ve purchased doesn’t necessarily mean that no one else has any legal right to a portion of your lot. Utility easements are usually written into your deed. Easements are more commonly granted to utility companies, such as telephone or electrical companies to run cable and power lines. Stats., to ensure that the release is duly approved when required, and noted on the recorded plat. There are many different kinds of easements, ranging from "rights of way," "prescriptive easements," "easements by implication," and "easements by necessity." If you purchase a property with a utility easement in place, it means that the utility company has the right to run lines on it, install items on it and do any other work necessary as dictated by law. As the property owner, you're giving these companies the right to come onto your property to maintain and repair these lines or pipes. My property and my in-law's property are divided by a 1000'x50' easement that is marked on the plat as "to be abandoned". The utility company has the right to use the land to maintain and repair their lines, pipes, or equipment. These types of easements may be able to be challenged by claims that the part of the land was abandoned. When he sells his property, the new owner will have the same limited right to cross your land to get to the street. It could be a simple matter if the holder of the easement – such as your neighbor – agrees to terminate the easement agreement. After the required number of years of hostile use have passed (depending on the state), the neighbor can legally acquire a prescriptive easement. My Deed says including the easement with rights to ingress and egress. A few years pass, and one day your neighbor serves you with a quiet title lawsuit in an effort to establish a prescriptive easement to that portion of the land. Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! An easement is created when a land owner grants a right to use his property to another. Let’s say your neighbor is granted an easement appurtenant in order for him to access the roadway from his driveway. As the property owner, you could have several types of utility lines running under or over your land, such as electric or gas lines. When you buy a Sarasota home and it has land associated with it, your property survey and title might indicate a utility easement. An easement gives a person or organization a legal right to use someone else’s land—but only for a needed purpose. Property owners have rights regarding their utility easements. The most common kind of easement is one that has been given in writing to a utility company or a city. Utility easements can be above or below ground, and these are usually electrical power lines, gas lines and telephone lines. © LegalZoom.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Utility easements attach to property deeds and pass to all future owners whenever the property is transferred or sold. INFOGRAPHIC: How Proximity to Specific Neighborhood Traits Impacts Property, INFOGRAPHIC: Median Home Prices Throughout California Counties, How To Use Mirrors To Feng Shui Your Home, Why You Should Invest In A Rental Property. Easement Appurtenant. Property owners have rights regarding their utility easements. This article outlines the rights and obligations of utility companies and homeowners with respect to easements. Easements for driveways, sidewalks and roads and sidewalks over a neighbor’s land, for example, fall under this type of easement. Do Easements Limit Your Ability to Make Improvements on Your Home? A neighbor with easement rights to access part of a yard can rightfully demand a dividing fence be removed. A utility company needs to run its pipes, lines, etc. There are utility easements that allow sewer and gas lines. Stated otherwise, when a person or entity is granted an easement, only the legal right to use the property is granted, but title to the land is still retained by the owner. As a property owner, you have the right to know what type of easement your land is attached to, and how it will affect the enjoyment of your property. But that’s not always the case. There are driveway easements that allow access to your property in the form of a short road or driveway. An easement can give a utility company the right to erect power lines or bury a gas pipeline across a tract of land. Utility easements are maintained by utility companies for the benefit of other properties and restrict the owner’s use of the land in several ways, such as preventing the creation of permanent structures. If these lines exist, a utility company can access them if there's a problem, even if that means going onto your property to do so. You’ll definitely want to be in-the-know if you plan on putting an addition to your home or building deck. Negative v. Affirmative Easement. The easement doesn’t give a person the right to possession; instead, it only gives the right to use it for specified intentions. If the easement was known to the city and properly recorded, but you weren’t informed of it when you bought the place, the title insurance provider is obligated to pay you for any loss of property value as a result of the easement. Usually, the utility companies don't pay anything for the use of the easement. This is the most common form of easements, which grant utility companies the right to enter a property at no charge to provide their services. You own the land, but they have the right to use your land to access their equipment. Her Deed says bounded by the easement, but has a clause that says rights to ingress and egress. Utility easements also grant the utility companies permission to enter the property to service and maintain their equipment. If that’s the case, you’ll probably want to speak with a real estate lawyer for advice. Utility easements are one of the most common types of easements for private property, which generally allow public utility companies access to the property for the purpose of installing, repairing and maintaining utility lines. Easements are used to provide non-owners with rights of ingress, egress, utilities, and drainage over a specific portion of another’s land. In many cases, though, unless the utility was negligent or willfully destroyed property, the property owner bears the cost of replacing their landscaping or whatever the utility destroyed. A negative easement under Virginia property law, is known as a … 2d 591 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991), the court held that a common law easement did not give rise to parking rights. An easement is defined as "an interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use or enjoyment." The rights of utility companies to step foot on your property, as described above, are common, and are referred to as easements in gross. Usually, the utility companies don't pay anything for the use of the easement. If you're not sure if there's an easement on your property, it's best to do a title search to find out. Just about every property has an easement. This easement is not a right away, only utility. Get the right guidance with an attorney by your side. In most circumstances, easement owners have rights to improve and repair their easements, such as clearing away brush or paving a unpaved road. When you agree to buy a home, it’s in your best interests to find out everything there is to know about it. Or if your driveway overlaps your property line, you might rely on an easement on your neighbor’s property to get to your garage. Easements grant a third party (“easement holder”) a non-possessory interest in your land. In other cases, utilities may have a specific right, granted by your deed, to use a corridor on your property—usually on a boundary line or near the property's perimeter—to set up utility poles, lines, or towers. A utility easement is attached to the property deed so that it passes on even when the property is transferred or sold. To illustrate, let’s say your neighbor builds a fence along what is assumed to be the boundary of the property. Luckily, you've come to … The most common easement is a utility easement. Any structure, retaining wall or fence located in these easements must have an encroachment permit from the Right-of-Way Division (located in the permit center at … Another interesting issue is that, unlike §704.01(2), which provides for both ingress/egress and utility easements, §704.01(1) only contemplates rights-of-way (and does not address utility easements). These types of easements are the ones that cause the most animosity between neighbors, since they are created without the permission of the owner who’s property is being used. Ingress and egress are terms for the easement right to travel to and from a property over the lands of another – they provide pedestrian and/or vehicular access. The property owner owns the land with the easement and must pay taxes on the easement area. Documentation the city and contactors summited for federal approval has no mention of putting utilities on our easement. Common easements include rights of way for access, or the right to cross property (including easements for utility service or water conveyance). Remember that your deed permits utility companies to access it whenever needed so that they can take you to court—they can ask the judge for an injunction to stop you from blocking entry onto your property—for violating the easement. After obtaining a survey, it’s discovered that your neighbor actually constructed the fence 3 feet into your side of the property’s boundary, and is now entitled to a prescriptive easement. An easement gives the holder the right to use the property owned by someone else. Sometimes easements might also have an expiration date, after which it no longer exists. Owner Rights As the owner of a property hosting a utility easement, you're entitled to reasonable use of the land over which the easement runs, but … Electric power easements are agreements between a landowner and a utility company that allow the company to use part of the owner's land for activities and equipment related to providing electricity. An easement is a property right that gives its holder an interest in land that's owned by someone else. These are usually towers connected to each other by power lines. And be prepared to take the battle to court. 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