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3 common encumbrances against real property you should know

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2023 | Real estate transactions

Regarding real estate, ownership is not always as straightforward as it seems. Property rights can be complex, and various hindrances can limit your ability to use, sell or develop your land.

Understanding these encumbrances is crucial for anyone involved in real estate transactions or property management. Below are three common types of encumbrances against real property that you should be aware of to navigate the real estate world more effectively.

1. Easements

An easement allows someone to use a specified portion of your property for a particular purpose. Common examples include utility easements, which allow utility companies to access and maintain their infrastructure on your land, or driveway easements, which permit neighbors to access their properties by crossing your land. Easements can significantly impact your property’s usability and value, so it is essential to be aware of any existing easements when buying or selling real estate.

2. Liens

Liens are claims against a property as collateral for a debt or obligation. Failure to meet your financial responsibilities, such as paying property taxes, mortgage loans or contractors, may trigger a lien on your property. Liens can make selling or transferring property ownership challenging until the debt is settled.

3. Encroachments

An encroachment occurs when a part of one person’s property extends onto another person’s property without permission. This can include structures like fences, driveways or buildings. Encroachments can trigger disputes between property owners and may need to be resolved through legal action or by negotiating an easement or property boundary adjustment.

Failure to address encumbrances properly can lead to legal complications, reduced property values or difficulty in using or selling the property. Therefore, conducting a thorough title search and seeking legal counsel is advisable before entering a real estate transaction. This can help ensure that any encumbrances are addressed and resolved appropriately.