Hopefully, before you bought your farm or ranch property, you were advised to make sure you had road access or utility access to your property from a public road. If not, you may need to acquire access to your property from one of your neighbors, or you will only be enjoying the view of your property from far, far away.
Also, because access through the air by helicopter can become pricey, it is worth your while to consider your options in obtaining more cost-efficient access. There are different ways you can acquire such access. It can be acquired by an easement, license, or by the conveyance of a strip of land to your property. The most common of these is probably an easement.
There are all types of easements. Basically, an easement is defined as the right in favor of one person to use the land of another person. An easement can be for road access, utility access, pipelines or any other purpose in which you need a use from an property that is not owned by you. Especially when inquiring into the purchase of unimproved land, it is essential to make sure the land in question will have access to whatever it needs for whatever purpose you envision for the land. So say you have land, up on a hill, which you envision building your dream mansion on, but it is completely surrounding by your neighbors’ land. You need to make sure that you obtain an easement to reach your castle, otherwise, you just bought a hill and a massive lawsuit.
Generally, the easement holder must maintain the easement. That is, if you have an easement for a road across your neighbor’s property, it is your responsibility to maintain the road for your own use. Further, the owner of the land over which your easement crosses must not interfere with your use of the easement. Litigation springs up in situations where the easement is being used and abused by the owner of the land over which the easement crosses. It also occurs where the owner of the land where the easement is located starts locking the gates and denying the easement holder access to their property.
Easements can be established by express conveyances, by necessity or by implication. An express conveyance would be a properly surveyed and recorded easement from one neighbor to another. Typically some form of consideration is given for such an easement. An easement by necessity would occur by court order where a tract of a land has no other reasonable means of access. An easement by implication could arise where uninterrupted access has been allowed for a period of time. Both an easement by necessity or implication would require a court ruling to establish the location of such easement for purposes of obtaining third-party financing for the purchase of your property.
If you have any additional questions about easements or your property in general, please feel free to contact us.