Utility companies provide crucial services to help homes become habitable and businesses perform basic functions. Gas, electrical, water and sewer service are the most crucial utilities provided by private companies, although telecommunication utility providers also have a major impact on daily life and business operations.
If those companies had to purchase the land where they installed power lines or laid cables, it would quickly become prohibitively expensive for them to provide service to communities. These businesses largely operate by obtaining utility easements on property owned by other people and businesses.
If you have commercial property subject to a utility easement, what does that mean for your operations?
There are limits on land use
You typically will not be able to build any permanent structures on the portion of your property subject to an easement held by a utility company. Regardless of whether there are already power lines there or plans to install gas lines in the immediate future, the section of property subject to the easement will need to be accessible for the installation or maintenance of utility lines.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon the property subject to the easement. You may simply need to be creative about how you use it. For example, if you operate an automotive dealership, you could store vehicles on the section of property subject to the easement. That way, it would still be relatively quick and easy for the utility company to access the area.
Using the area for outdoor storage is one option. Other uses may also be possible provided that they do not block access to the space or interfere with the ability of utility workers to make necessary repairs.
Easements are a big factor in commercial property purchases
When you want to buy commercial property for your business, you need to know what you can do with that property. Making sense of utility easements and other factors that can influence your use of the land can help you decide on the right property or the optimal way to utilize the property.
Communicating with an attorney familiar with easement and land use issues can help you resolve an issue with a property you currently own or make better decisions about an upcoming purchase.