Easements are a right to use land or an interest in land that is less than full ownership of the land. The most common sources of easements are express grants or reservation in deeds, survey plats and adverse possession.
Deeds may describe an easement using a variety of language and the lack of a specific location, absence of easily identifiable boundary lines and vague language regarding the permitted use can cause significant problems. Property purchased with reference to survey plats can, under some circumstances, benefit from or be subject to easements appearing on the plat. In addition, activity on another party’s land for a long period of time can result in an easement being created by adverse possession.
Easements can be created for a variety of purposes. Some common examples are easements for a road right of way, utilities, drainage ditches and use of wells. These easements are classified as “affirmative easements.” They give one party the right to engage in specified activity on the land of another party.
Certain easements are classified as “negative easements.” They restrict a landowner’s use of property for the benefit of another person. Subdivision covenants placing limits on the size of and number of buildings are an example of a negative easement.
Disputes over easements often arise over whether the use exceeds that permitted by the easement. Examples of such disputes are whether a road easement can be used for utility lines, whether an easement has been abandoned and whether the underlying land owner’s activity interferes with use of the easement.
A successful outcome in an easement dispute is highly dependent upon the particular language of the easement and the conduct that created the dispute. Our attorneys at Cannon Law, P.C. have experience in reading and interpreting easement documents and in representing clients in trials arising from easement disputes. Call us today to learn how we can help you with your easement dispute.