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When buying real estate, do you need to honor an easement?

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Real Estate & Development

When there’s an easement on the land, it means that multiple people are allowed to use that property. Only one person may actually be a property owner. But someone else has been authorized for a specific type of use.

An example of this is when one property is on a main road but the other property is behind. It is cut off from the road, so there is no access for the property owner. They may have an easement stating that they can use a shared driveway on the front property so that they can get to the street. This doesn’t mean that they own that property, and they can’t build on it or do anything else other than using the shared driveway.

But if you buy a piece of property that already has an easement, do you have to honor it as the new owner?

The easement runs with the land

You may, at least if the easement runs with the land. This is an easement appurtenant. It is a binding legal agreement that essentially makes the easement itself part of the property. You do have to continue to honor it if you buy that property, so knowing that the easement exists is very important – as it can have a major impact on the property’s financial value.

That said, not all easements work this way. There are some personal easements that are eliminated when the property changes hands. So you may not have to honor one of these easements, and it’s very important to understand the classification.

Remember, if you are a real estate developer and you are investing a substantial sum of money in this property, you must know exactly what it is worth and how you can use it. You also need to know what legal steps to take during the transaction.