It’s tough when the property you own is landlocked, with no direct access to and from a street, beach or any public area. To get to them, you will have to cross someone else’s land, which could be a problem.
Thankfully, there’s a way to do so legally, and it’s called a landlocked property easement. With the legal permission that an easement grants, there shouldn’t be any issues about stepping on and basically trespassing on a neighbor’s property to get to a public place and back.
So how should you go about getting an easement? Here are some ways to create an easement that will help you gain access to your landlocked property.
A written document is perhaps the most common way of creating an easement. You will need to negotiate with the owner of the neighboring property to grant you access though.
It will probably help if you’re on good terms with your neighbor, although that won’t be an assurance you will be granted easement. After all, an easement request is effectively asking your neighbor to give up rights to a portion of his or her land just to make life easier for you.
However, if your neighbor accedes to your easement request, it must be put in writing to be considered an express grant. It would hold up better in court if the easement is clearly spelled out in a written instrument like a contract, a deed, or even a will, and signed by the grantor.
Depending on the nature of the deal between two parties, an express easement could either be “affirmative” or “negative.”
An express easement that gives the grantee—that would be you— access to a stated portion of the grantor’s property for a specific purpose like accessing the road is of the affirmative type.
A negative easement, on the other hand, gives the grantee or the easement holder a legally binding promise not to put up structures on their property that would block a neighbor’s view or restrict their access to air and light.
When there is no written document creating an express easement grant, you can still get access to your landlocked property through an implied easement, which revolves around the idea that certain situations or circumstances may still imply that you have an easement right. This type of easement typically applies to parcels of land that used to be part of a larger parcel of land.
An implied easement can be created once the following requirements are satisfied:
If you own a landlocked property, then you should always keep in mind that you are legally entitled to an easement. How you go about obtaining one is your call.
We all would like to live in harmony, as countless other property owners who decided to sit down, draft an agreement, sign it, and file it with the government to put it on record are currently doing. After all, it’s not your fault that both your properties are in such awkward positions.
While you can opt to just leave it to the court, working with your neighbor on an easement is still the best possible option to create one. That way, you get to enjoy your landlocked property and maintain good relations with the people who live right next to you.
Whatever road you take on getting an easement, it’s always advisable to consult an experienced real estate lawyer who can help you iron out the details of any agreement you and your neighbor might come up with, or represent you when you’re applying for a court-ordered easement.
By Kristin Keller, Marketing Manager of Provident Law, a full service business and real estate firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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