One of the great challenges of property rights is that human activities rarely operate in a vacuum. The law oftentimes addresses the fact that neighbors cause problems for each other by using easements. An easement is a stipulation added to the title for a property that allows the offending party to continue unabated, usually in exchange for good compensation. For example, a concert arena might offer its neighbors free tickets every year in exchange for an easement allowing the venue to produce excessive noise and traffic during events.
What happens when an easement becomes a nightmare? Here are four common options a real estate attorney may exercise.
Some easements are based on needs that no longer exist. A rancher might have given a neighboring cattle farmer an easement to traverse their property to access a pond, for example. Years later, cows may still be crossing the property even though the pond dried up 20 years before. A new property owner who isn't as fond of cows may seek to quiet the title. This means they can file a title action stating that the purpose of the easement is no more, consequently terminating the arrangement. If no one objects, the title is quieted. If someone does object, they will have to go to court to contest the action and a judge will rule.
Voluntarily Releasing the Easement
Sometimes, the simplest solution is to ask the easement holder to release the arrangement. Even if there are grounds for quieting the easement, talking it out might be a better answer because you may still have to live with someone as a neighbor. People tend to be understanding, and usually, the worst that might happen is you may have to compensate the other party for the release.
Merging the Properties
Another way to end an easement is to simply acquire both of the properties involved in the arrangement. Once the two lots are merged, a new title will take effect and the old easements will disappear.
Look for Provisions in the Easement
A well-written easement should include sunset provisions. If parties need to maintain easements, they can just keep renewing or updating the terms as each deal expires. A real estate attorney can review the terms of an easement to see if it is still in force. If it isn't, then termination of the arrangement calls for nothing more than notifying the other party that the easement no longer exists. For more information, contact a real estate attorney.Share
10 December 2020