Do you have to honor an easement?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Real estate transactions

When you’re looking to buy a new piece of property, you may discover that it has an easement. This is an agreement to give someone who is not the property owner the ability to use that land. A common example is when a shared driveway runs through one person’s property and connects to another.

You understand why the easement exists, but you also know that it can drive down the value of that property. If you buy it, you want to keep the value as high as possible, so you would rather not honor the easement. Do you have this option, or do you have to allow the easement to stand just because it existed for the previous property owner?

The easement might run with the land

The truth is that there are different types of easements. In some cases, two property owners will just make an agreement that only lasts until one of them leaves. In a case like that, you don’t necessarily have to honor it.

But a lot of easement agreements are legally binding, and the easement runs with the land. This means that it is not just an agreement between two property owners. It is now an inherent quality of that land, and the next person to buy the property does have to honor it.

The reason for this is that eliminating an easement can be quite a hardship for the other property owner. If that shared driveway is the only way to reach their property, for example, eliminating the easement makes this impossible.

What are your options?

This is just one of the questions you want to ask yourself when you’re buying real estate. You may make sure you know about all the options that you have and the legal steps to take when the situation becomes so complicated.