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The Educated Buyer: Easements

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An easement is the right to use land that belongs to someone else for a special purpose. The most common easements are for utility access and right-of-way access.

Utility access refers to the right to run and maintain overhead or underground power cables, telephone lines, and water and sewage pipes on privately owned property.

A right-of-way gives a party other than the owner of that property access for a specific purpose. A shared driveway is an example.

Easements relate to the use of a property for the specifically stated purpose only and in no way relate to ownership. Easements run with the land, which means they remain with the property even if it is sold.

Easements can affect the way a homeowner can use their land. For example, if there is a utility easement on a property, the owner may not be able to install a pool or accessory building on or near that area. It is important to identify whether or not there are any easements before submitting an offer to purchase a property.

Undisclosed Easements

A buyer may try to use the non-disclosure of an easement by a seller as an objection to the title in an attempt to terminate a transaction. Not all easements would allow for termination due to non-disclosure. Certain easements must be accepted by a buyer whether they’re disclosed or not. These easements generally relate to drainage, storm or sanitary sewers, public utility lines, telephone lines, and cable television lines provided they do not materially affect the use of the property.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Feel free to get in touch if you have any further questions about easements.