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New property owners may have to honor an easement

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Commercial Real Estate |

An easement is an agreement between two property owners. It specifies that someone who is not on the title for that property still has a right to use it in a specific way. 

For example, a neighboring property owner may need to cross that property to enter their own, so the two will have a shared driveway. The easement mandates that they have to continue sharing that driveway and that the person who owns the land cannot inhibit this process.

In some cases, these are just known as personal easements. The agreement may be referred to as an easement in gross. Either way, this means that it often does not have to stand if the property changes hands. It’s just a personal agreement between two people, so a new property owner could decide not to honor it. But there are other cases in which that new owner does have to honor the easement – even though they didn’t initially agree to it.

Runs with the land

This happens when the owners have used an easement appurtenant, or an easement that “runs with the land.” Legally speaking, this ties that easement to the land itself. Even if the title changes hands in a sale, the new owner still has to uphold the easement.

This can sometimes lead to conflicts and disputes. If you buy a piece of property, you absolutely need to know if it already has an easement and what obligations you have. Do not deny the other party’s use if you do not have the right to do so. If the two of you find yourselves in a dispute, then you need to look into all of the legal options you have moving forward.