Charlottesville Easement Dispute Attorneys
Charlottesville Easement Dispute Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. understands just how complex the legalities of property easements can be, and how quickly disputes can arise. An easements gives a person the legal right to use another’s property for certain purposes for a designated period of time. In essence, it enables someone the right to commit trespassing as long as the individual is doing so within the boundaries of the easement. Despite a person being able to use the land for specific purposes, the original owner still retains title to his or her property.
There are various types of easements, that can be granted to any person whether friend, neighbor, private party, or government agency and is governed by real property laws. The different kinds of easements under real estate law are listed as follows:
These easements occurs if the owner of the real property writes an easement that is reflected in a property deed.
A landowner has reserved an easement within a property deed so that new owners must observe written restrictions. For instance, if a property owner sells their home near a lake but still wants to be able to visit the lake, this can be written through an easement in the deed and the new owner is required to allow this.
A negative easement is when a landowner establishes a restriction for how their property can be used, even if the activity is legal. For example, if a homeowner wants to ensure that their view of the city isn’t blocked by a series of newly built homes, a negative easement can alleviate this concern.
These easements enable someone to use property for a certain purpose, and the nature of the use is usually long-term and private. If someone isn’t using your property as written in the easement or you were accused of being in violation, we suggest contacting an Easement Dispute Attorneys in Charlottesville right away for guidance handling this dispute.
Easement by Estoppel
The court may deem an easement has been established if the neighbor had spent a reasonably significant amount of money, resources, or labor to update the easement.
Service providers and utility companies must regularly establish easements with owners of property to permit them to run cable lines or other utility.
Easements of a public nature permit those in the general public to use or cross over the land. A common example of this are sidewalks and streets.
These easements are often seen in situations where an individual uses the owner’s property on a routine basis. For a prescriptive easement to be established, the adverse use of property must be known to neighbors and the landowner, in addition to being consistently used by the easement beneficiary for the duration of time required by the state.
Easements by Necessity
If the easement beneficiary must cross over another’s property to get to a highway or street, easement by necessity is frequently implied.
Real Estate Easements Explained
An easement is the right to use an area of land belonging to another property owner. While easements are relatively common in Virginia, Charlottesville Easement Dispute Attorneys have seen just how easily difficulties may arise when property owners or users of easements fail to follow the terms of their easement agreement.
Easements are commonly used as a means of “ingress and egress,” such as driveways and pathways to enter or exit properties. Additionally, utility easements are very prevalent, giving certain utility companies (water, gas, and the like) permission to run pipes or wires under, over, or through your property.
Right to Light Easement
There are other less-recognized easements, such as the right to light. A “solar easement” gives you the right to maintain a minimum quality of light in your home. Therefore, someone cannot build a structure next to you that significantly blocks the light coming into your home. Additionally, a “view easement” provides that your neighbor cannot erect a structure or grow trees or other vegetation that blocks your existing view.
A Charlottesville, VA Easement Dispute Attorneys is aware that easements are generally created when a property owner sells an easement to another property owner. For example, a nearby construction project may buy the right to use your path or driveway, install pipes or irrigation under your land, or even purchase a solar easement to maintain their view and sunlight.
When Easements Lack Record
An easement may also exist even without any written record. The law grants individuals a right of access to their homes, and a legal easement may be created, for example, if it is absolutely necessary to cross another’s land for a legitimate purpose. So, if the only access to a piece of land is by crossing through your property, the law may recognize the granting of an “easement by necessity” over your land.
Even when a document purporting to be an easement has been signed and recorded, there still may be confusion as to its precise meaning, including whether it remains in effect. There may also be questions or disputes regarding whether the easement has expired or been extinguished or whether it “runs with the land.” In addition, if a valid easement exists, there are often questions of who owns the easement, what the scope of the easement permits, and whether the parties are overburdening the lawful scope of the easement.
Finally, some easements are created without any recorded document but merely by repetitive use. Virginia law recognizes that individuals can acquire an easement over another’s land for a particular purpose by using that land openly and continuously for a set period of time. These “prescriptive easements” are typically created when someone uses another’s land for access such as a driveway, beach path, or shortcut. Unless all parties agree that such a prescriptive easement exists, it may be necessary to consult with Charlottesville Easement Dispute Attorneys in VA at MartinWren, P.C. bout having the easement established by a court.
What to Do Next About a Dispute
Before buying a home or land, whether for residential or investment purchasers, buyers should contact an experienced local real estate attorney to investigate whether the property is burdened by any applicable restrictions or easements. If a valid easement exists, you are not permitted to interfere with the purpose of that easement. If you do so, you may end up being liable to the easement owner for damages.
If you are concerned that someone may be violating your easement rights or if there is a dispute as to the precise aspects of a purported easement, contact John B. Simpson, a Charlottesville, VA easement dispute lawyer at MartinWren, P.C., at (434) 817-3100.