Easements are common encumbrances that come up in connection with the purchase and sale of residential real estate. So what is an easement and how do you get rid of it?
The first thing to know about easements is that they usually run with the property, which is why it is so important to do your due diligence when purchasing a home. Buying a home can be a lengthy process, but it is likely one of the biggest and most important purchases you will make. As such, it is essential to follow each of the necessary steps, such as inspections and title examinations, in order to spot any potential issues with your purchase. An easement is one of these potential issues that may arise.
An easement basically gives another person legal access to your land; not an ownership interest in the land, but a right to access or use a portion of the land. There are several different types of easements, but most commonly found is an affirmative easement connected to the land. This means that a portion of the land is authorized for use by another.
For instance, perhaps the only means of access to your neighbor’s home is down a lengthy driveway, but a portion of that driveway actually runs across your property. There may be an easement on your land that allows the neighbors to use that portion of your property for their driveway. Most likely this easement is attached to the land so that if someone new purchases the neighbor’s home, they will still have access to that same easement for their driveway.
But now you would like to sell your home and a title search by the diligent buyer has revealed the driveway easement on your property. How can you get rid of this easement? Unfortunately, easements can sometimes be permanent, but there are a number of ways that an easement can be terminated or restricted. The creation and termination of an easement, as well as the discovery of easements in connection with real estate sales, are complicated and nuanced legal issues. Thus, it can be helpful to consult with an experienced real estate attorney for assistance with these matters.