Easements offer property owners a way to solidify the need to access another property owner’s land. These legal documents serve as a tool to help outline the use of the land, offering protection to both property owners. Although generally beneficial these agreements do not always go smoothly. Common disputes include whether or not the easement is valid, arguments about the use of a driveway and clashes over the use of a common roadway.
Do the property owners have to follow the easement?
When facing an easement dispute the first reaction may be to simply ignore the easement and continue use as you see best. It is important to remember that easements are legal tools. As such, a failure to follow the rules of these legally binding documents can result in a lawsuit.
How can property owners resolve easement disputes?
As discussed in more detail in a previous post, available here, it is important to gather information about existing easements prior to purchasing property. This is true for both commercial and residential transactions. Review the language of the easement and check to see if it is valid. This may provide an opportunity to redraft and negotiate a new easement or offer to purchase the portion of the land that is subject to the easement.
It is also wise to review the language of the easement. It is possible the easement is no longer valid. These legal tools can include an end date. Check and see if the easement has expired before putting too much effort into the potential dispute.
Property owners may also consider challenging an easement. Resolution in this example is possible through additional negotiations or litigation.
These three examples are just a few of the options available for property owners navigating an easement dispute. An attorney experienced in this area of the law can review the dispute and provide guidance for specific situations.