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What happens to an easement when property changes hands?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Real Estate |

An easement is a legal agreement wherein a property owner allows someone else to use their property for a specific purpose. They may define a very specific way in which this use can occur and a specific place where it can happen.

For instance, imagine one property that is right along a nearby road. Behind it is another property that doesn’t touch the road. It is cut off from that access point by the first. The person who owns that rear property may ask for an easement so that they can use a driveway to cross the first property and enter their own. It’s crucial for them to be able to actually access their land.

What happens when someone else buys the property?

It all depends on the type of easement. In some cases, easements are just agreements between two individuals that may be canceled by a new property owner. This is known as an easement in gross.

However, in many cases, the easement actually runs with the land. This is called an easement appurtenant. It stays with the property and is considered to be part of that property. It cannot be eliminated by the new property owner simply because they didn’t agree to it at their time of purchase.

Of course, this kind of situation can sometimes become contentious. Maybe that property owner didn’t know that there was an easement when they bought the property – it should have been disclosed. Maybe they thought it would be easy to change the agreement.

Complex real estate

Most properties don’t have easements, but this is a good example of just how complex a transaction can become. It’s very important for all involved to understand exactly what they are buying or selling, what rights they have and what obligations they’re going to have after a sale. They may also need to know what legal options they have to settle a dispute, should one arise. As a result, it is generally a good idea to seek legal guidance proactively.

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