Road Easements: 12 Things You Must Know In 2024

As you navigate land ownership and purchasing property, you may encounter road easements.

An easement is the legal right of a non-owner to use a part of another person’s land for a specific purpose.

Road easements often come into play when someone needs to access their property.

When there is no roadway between a given parcel of land and public roads, it can become incredibly difficult to legally use the land that you’ve purchased.

In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about road easements before you buy.

1. What types of easements are there?

There are two main types of easements: appurtenant easements and easements in gross.

Both of these types of easements can be used for ingress, egress, utilities, and drainage.

Here are the core differences you should understand.

bulletAppurtenant Easements

These easements are automatically conveyed with the land they benefit when the land is sold or transferred (unless otherwise expressly stated).

They exist for the benefit of adjoining land, so think of it as an easement for ingress, egress, utilities, or drainage that crosses over a parcel of land that separates the property being benefitted from a public road.

So, if you have a parcel of land that you wouldn’t have access to without crossing an adjoining piece of land, then any road easements would likely be appurtenant easements.

Your parcel would be the “dominant estate” because it is benefitted by the easement.

The parcel over which the easement runs is known as the “servient estate.”

Even if the servient estate is sold or transferred, this does not break an appurtenant easement (even if it isn’t mentioned in the deed!).

bulletEasements in Gross

Rather than benefitting the land, easements in gross are intended to benefit a person or company.

For example, an easement in gross may be given to a utility company by a country or state to run electric, telephone, or internet transmission lines.

This type of easement doesn’t benefit a piece of property, and the utility company doesn’t have to own any land nearby to obtain it.

Easements in gross do not run with the land, and these easements are on “servient estates” because they are not for the benefit of particular properties.

However, similar to the appurtenant easements, the sale of the servient estate does not terminate the easement in gross (even if it isn’t mentioned in the deed!).

2. Did you know there are also negative easements?

Most easements that come to mind are affirmative easements: they give the easement holder the right to do something (such as use a property for ingress or egress).

But there are also negative easements.

These allow the easement holder to prevent the owner of the servient estate from using the property in a specific way (such as a conservation easement).

3. How do you know if there are easements on a property?

Because easements don’t have to be written into the deed to exist, you may be wondering how you’d know if there were easements on land you were going to buy.

In some states, it’s legally required for sellers to disclose easements on their property, so you should have some idea if easements exist when you enter a purchase agreement.

However, if you’re purchasing a bank-owned home, then you may need to do some due diligence.

In order to find out, you’d want to break up your search based on the type of easement.

bulletUtility easement:

This type of easement gives permission to utility companies to install power lines, a cell phone tower, etc. on your property.

Call your local utility company or go to the county land records office or city hall.

You can ask a clerk to show you a map of the easement locations.

You could also get a survey of the property to show the location of any utility easements.

bulletPrivate easement:

Private easements often come in the form of a path, driveway, sewer, or solar access.

If your title contains private easements, then you should get copies of the actual easement documents when purchasing the property.

You’ll be able to find a reference number on those documents.

The county clerk can also help you locate these private easements in the public records, so you can obtain a copy to keep with your deed.

bulletEasement by necessity:

Here’s where it can get confusing for landowners or potential buyers.

Sometimes a legal easement doesn’t have to be written down to exist.

If it’s absolutely necessary to cross someone’s land for a legitimate purpose (like access to their home), then there may be an “easement by necessity.”

In this case, you cannot interfere with your neighbor’s legal rights.

If you notice this is happening, you may need to talk to a lawyer to find out your options.

bulletPrescriptive easements:

A prescriptive easement is similar to an easement by necessity in that it allows someone to access another’s land for a particular purpose (like accessing their home).

However, it typically only comes into play after a set period of time.

For example, prescriptive road easements may be created if you had been using a part of a neighbor’s property for access without a formal easement for the past 20 years.

This essentially allows the easement holder to adversely possess a portion of the servient lot for a specific purpose.

Different states have different rules and regulations.

The best thing you can do is look up “easements” in the index of your state statutes so you can understand court decisions on prescriptive easements.

As you can see, there are a number of different easements that may exist on your property and not all of them will be easily searchable in public records.

To be absolutely certain that you have found all easements on your property, your best bet is to have a title search done.

4. What can I do if I don’t like people on my property?

Property owners are not able to interfere with the purpose of a legal easement.

For example, if an electric company with a utility easement has strung wires across its right of way, you’re not legally allowed to take them down or block their path.

Interfering with an easement can make you liable for damage and subject to court action.

If you feel like someone is illegally trespassing on your property or you have good reason to dispute the easement, then you should talk to an experienced local real estate attorney.

They can offer advice on the best way to proceed (especially if there’s nothing in writing). 

5. Why do road easements exist?

Road easements exist for the purpose of ingress and egress – the right to enter and exit a property.

This need occurs when a parcel of land does not adjoin a public roadway.

If you purchase a land that is itself “landlocked” then you would need a road easement to access your property.

Buyers of homes and land should condition their purchase of the property upon having ingress and egress to a public road.

If you do not have this, then you won’t be able to access the land or home that you’ve purchased.

You can ensure that you have this by getting a land survey prior to closing on the property.

To have access without an easement, at least one boundary of the property must exactly coincide without gap or deviation with the edge of a roadway.

This is known as the right-of-way line.

If these lines do not coincide, then you (as the buyer) need to be certain that the property in question has an easement that provides the buyer the legal right to cross over whatever property lies between your property and the public road.

If you plan to live on the property, then you should also include the right to utility lines and pipes in addition to the road easement.

Without this, not only is the land difficult to live on, but it loses a lot of value.

You likely would have a hard time selling the property if you ever had that desire.

6. How do you create an easement?

Easements are typically created in documents (although they do not need to be).

Easements can be created in deeds, easement agreements, subdivision declarations, and condominium declarations.

All of these are recorded in the land records just like deeds or mortgages.

If you’re interested in creating an easement, it’s best practice to use an easement in an agreement or declaration (rather than a deed) because this will help you address all of the issues pertaining to easements.

After you’ve drawn up the document, get it notarized by a public notary with two witnesses present.

7. What’s the difference between a private road and an easement?

A road easement provides someone the right to pass over someone else’s property to access their own.

Not all easements are road easements.

For example, some appurtenant easements are used by utility companies to place cell towers on people’s land.

To be brief, while all private roads are also easements, not all easements are private roads.

Private roads provide access in the same way that a road easement would, and it wasn’t until some state court cases started trying to define the meaning of “private road” that confusion occurred.

How a private road is defined will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

However, both road easements and private roads are similar in that a municipality has no right to use or regulate either without the consent of the landowner or the imposition of a statute.

8. Who is responsible for maintaining a road easement?

The laws governing easements can be complicated and will vary from state to state.

However, it is usually the person or party using the easement (also known as the easement holder) is often the one with the duty to maintain it.

While the easement owners aren’t the owners of the land itself, they should maintain it as they are using it.

The landowner (easement owner) will retain most rights over it.

So, what does this mean when it comes to a road easement?

Easement owners will still be able to clear away brush or pave an unpaved road.

However, they can’t block any of the easement holder’s use or enjoyment.

They also are under no duty or obligation to maintain or repair the easement’s improvements.

They are able to do so if desired, but they are in no way required to. 

9. How is an easement outlined?

Easements are given for specific purposes in a specific location (ingress, egress, utilities, drainage, etc.).

A road easement is provided for ingress and egress.

In most cases, easement agreements often outline the specific location in which the easement can be used on the servient estates.

So, if you have a road easement, you won’t be able to drive through your neighbor’s property wherever you want.

There will be a specific place outlined so that the easement holder cannot overexercise the power provided by the easement.

10. Are there restrictions on how road easements can be used?

In general, easements must be used for their original purposes.

However, if there is a need for changes then their uses may be modified to suit reasonable development.

All that to say, just because you’ve granted a road easement (as an easement owner) doesn’t mean that an easement holder is able to use it for whatever they please.

For instance, if there was an event (concert, festival, etc.) occurring nearby, the easement holder wouldn’t be able to use the road or driveway as a paid parking area for the property (thus making money off of it).

That said, easement holders should be able to use and enjoy the agreement within reasonable bounds, and one or two nights of people parking on the driveway for a private party may not be a problem.

11. Can easements impact any renovations or additions?  

This can be a huge question for land buyers looking to purchase a home or piece of land with the intention of building.

In this case, it’s especially important to know what easements exist on the property so you don’t create unnecessary legal complications that interfere with the easement holder’s right to use and enjoy what’s outlined in the easement. 

12. Can easements be terminated?

Yes, easements can be terminated in a few different ways depending on who does it.

Here’s what you need to know.

bulletBy the easement holder

The easement holder may terminate the easement by executing, delivering, and recording a written release of the easement, also known as a quit claim deed, conveying the easement back to the easement owner.

bulletBy mutual agreement

If both the easement holder and the easement owner are in agreement, then they can execute and record a termination of the easement.

This document should contain a written release of the easement (a quit claim deed) by the easement holder conveying the easement back to the easement owner.

bulletBy doctrine of merger

If the easement holder becomes the owner of both properties (over which the easement runs), then there is a “unity of two titles.”

Owners have no need for an easement on their own property, and thus the easement will have merged out of existence.

Final thoughts

A road easement gives you the right to access a part of someone else’s property to enter and exit your own.

They are commonly given to property owners with landlocked property.

The rules for easements vary by state, municipality, and the type of use involved.

Thus, it’s important to do research on the property you’re buying to understand if you have a need for any easements OR if any easements are currently on your property.

Consult your real estate agent or an experienced local real estate attorney who can help you with these details.

If the information regarding a road easement doesn’t already exist in the documents for your property, you may need to seek more information with your local county records or have a title search done.

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Erika Gokce Capital

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.

Erika

166 thoughts on “Road Easements: 12 Things You Must Know In 2024”

  1. Can a property owner post a speed limit or control the speed of ingress and egress by installing traffic bumps to inhibit unsafe vehicle speeds in a residential neighborhood?

    Reply
    • Hello Bill, that really depends on the terms of the easement and who owns it. If it is a public road easement or if the easement is owned by an association or other organization, the individual property owners likely won’t have any right to control the speed of ingress and egress.

      Reply
      • Hello Erika,
        What about if the reason for the easement no longer exists. For example the easement was granted to supply access for the neighbor to get to the main road. Years later the neighbor paves their own road on their property allowing them to access the main road using their own property. Would this extinguish the reason for the easement? Does the necessity no longer exist?

        Reply
        • Hello Brandon, it really depends on the specifics of the easement in question and how it was created (via an easement agreement or deed vs a court-ordered easement). I am not a lawyer myself, so I would check with a local land use attorney, but my understanding is that most easement agreements are created essentially in perpetuity (regardless of whether the necessity continues to exist or not).

          Reply
          • Yes, it was a right of way agreement that says in memorial and State’s it’s to gain access to the main road . So that’s means it would be really hard to have it extinguished regardless of the necessity it was created for us gone?

          • Hello Brandon, that may certainly be the case, but I would recommend speaking with an attorney.

          • Hi Erika,
            Could a neighbor behind the property with the easement tear down their back fence and then use the easement as a short cut to their property even if they have road access to their property?

          • Hello Pat, unfortunately, this is getting a bit more in the weeds, and the answer is going to depend on local laws and the specifics of the easement. I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney.

    • I found out a supposed easement on my property that 2 title searches don’t show nor 2 survey the city of Benton Arkansas told the neighbor he could do what ever he wanted on 15 foot of our property. The city took down private road sign and put up public easement sign right under it it says city maintenance ends. We are to maintain it and the across the street neighbor don’t help nor pays taxes on it. It screws the property owner when it was not on anything when we built in 2011.

      Reply
  2. I see that the property owner is responsible for easement maintenance. Are other easement users allowed to participate, or assume/usurp responsibility for the maintenance, or does the property owner have exclusive rights to maintenance? This question pertains to the need to reduce traffic speeds with the addition of speed bumps.

    Reply
    • Hello Bill, if you are talking about a private easement between two property owners, then the terms of the easement should dictate who has the right to maintain it. I would recommend having a lawyer take a look at the easement in question to see who is allowed to maintain the easement and make modifications (such as speed bumps).

      Reply
    • I own the propery and have an easement with the neighbor far back. This is out of city limits. Am I allowed to put security cameras pointing at who comes and goes? Remember I own the property. The easement is for access only for the neighbor.

      Reply
      • I would recommend speaking with a local attorney, but I would think you are able to put security cameras up, especially if they are located off of the easement itself.

        Reply
  3. road easement allows property owners to AGREED upon who ACcesses and EXITS OF their PROPERTY… No trespassing signs are helpful prevention as well but all else call the police cause no should be allowed to use your property line as ways of travel to and from without your agreed upon permission

    Reply
    • You’re right, Shannon. Generally, only the property owner of the landlocked parcel has the legal right to use your property for access.

      Reply
      • How about the US Postal Service? I have an easement between my neighbor and I in NC that’s deeded specifically to service both lots. What I am garnering from this is that anyone other than myself have no right to access this driveway, even for delivery. Is that correct?

        Reply
        • Hello William, that’s a very good question. I would assume that the access easement would also give the right to USPS and the like to deliver packages, but you may want to check with a local land use attorney.

          Reply
  4. Can the easement holders owns runs a commercial trucks allowed to utilize the private road/ easement every day damaging the private rd? Can they WIDEn the driveway?

    Reply
    • Hello Moni, all of this is dependent on what is negotiated between the parties involved and what ultimately gets recorded in the easement. If you are in the process of negotiating an easement, it is best to consult with a lawyer and ensure that all your concerns are addressed.

      Reply
      • What is there were no negotiations regarding an easement prior to the aposing party purchasing the land? Went from 10 cars a day to commercial traffic of 60+ cars per day.

        Reply
        • Hello Timothy, I’m sorry to hear about your predicament. Unfortunately, if the easement is already in place, they likely don’t need to negotiate with you so long as their use is still covered by the recorded easement. I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney to see if you have any recourse.

          Reply
  5. HOw wide is a road easement?

    Reply
  6. What is the width of an easement if it supplies 2 buldable properties?

    Reply
    • Hello Jenet, the width is dependent on what is stipulated in the recorded easement and will vary based on what is negotiated with the two landowners.

      Reply
  7. So if yiu have an easement thag runs through the middle of your prOperty to allow other ResIdents/neighbours access tot heir prOperty But then they start up and aribnb and also renting out small buildings for stay year riund and thOse people are now using the easement for profIt ? Their guests are using When it runs through our property we now lost out priVacy from Unkown people crossing our land to get to their propertY to rent.

    Reply
    • Hello Deb, that does sound like a bad situation. I would recommend calling a local real estate attorney to see what solutions are available to you.

      Reply
  8. If i have a right of way to access my property (home) os it leGal to put up a automatic gate at on the right of wAy to prevent TRESPASSERs from coming onto
    My property?

    Reply
    • Hello Robert, what you are allowed to do with the right of way would be dependent on what is written in the easement. I would have a local real estate attorney take a look to help you answer this question.

      Reply
  9. We bought a horse farm but we were not advised by the prior owner that an easement existed for an HOA across a lake, whom have no other direct access except through ours. We are the only home dwelling behind the gate and behind property lines on either side of the gate, which is our private property. This HOA has a landlocked “common area,” that they don’t use with a small pavilion. We assumed WE owned our driveway where our mailbox is and gate, as it goes directly to our home ONLY and simply passes the landlocked lot in question. However, we found out that THEY own our driveway and we only have easement! They are now harassing us and it has caused liability issues for our farm as they have gate keys to access our farm gates!!! An attorney has been hired, but my question is this: Did the prior owners have a duty to properly inform us of the backwards easement (any easement) and that we didn’t even own our own driveway and our farm is NOT even part of the HOA?

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. Generally, yes, the seller needs to disclose everything they know about the property, but it’s also going to depend on state laws and how the purchase contract was written. Your attorney should be able to tell you if you would be entitled to any recourse from your seller. Best of luck, I do hope you are able to resolve the situation or get your money back!

      Reply
      • What clauses or words in the purchase contract would allow someone to not disclose that? Our lawyer seems to think because it was “public record” she is free of liability; I beg to differ. That’s why I jumped on here to ask. We are a military family that was not able to come view the property due to military obligations and we were very transparent about that with all parties as well. They clearly took advantage of us! But I can’t fathom there is no recourse in Georgia.

        Reply
        • By “public record” I mean on the plat map for the county it has the abbreviation IPE on the driveway. How would layperson be expected to know or even assume that their driveway w/it’s associated mailbox and it’s the ONLY home on the drive/property… was not there’s or to go digging to research that!? Who in their right mind would have thought to do that? Also, wouldn’t the real estate agent also be liable for bringing something like that to our attention because they understand those things better than lay people?

          Reply
        • I should say that we are not lawyers, so we are limited in the degree that we can advise you, but we typically use the following website to pull up the standard purchase and sale agreement for a state: https://freeforms.com/purchase-agreements/ga/. The template purchase agreement on this website does have a line that clearly states the buyer is buying the property as is: “Except as otherwise stated in this Agreement, after recording, the
          Buyer shall accept the Property AS IS, WHERE IS, with all defects, latent or otherwise. Neither Seller nor their licensed real estate agent(s) or any other agent(s) of the Seller, shall be bound to any representation or warranty of any kind relating in any way to the Property or its condition,
          quality or quantity, except as specifically set forth in this Agreement or any property disclosure, which contains representations of the Seller only, and which is based upon the best of the Seller’s personal knowledge.”

          The template disclosure form included on this website does have a line to indicate whether there is an unrecorded easement or not; however, the website also says: “No law states that the seller of a residence has to supply the buyer with a disclosure form listing material facts associated with the property. That being said, it is still highly recommended that this document be executed in order to avoid any type of future dispute.” I should also note that the line in the disclosure statement appears to just be for unrecorded easements.

          Did you acquire the property with title insurance? If the easement was recorded, the title search should usually find it so I’m a bit surprised the title company didn’t catch this.

          Reply
          • We did have title insurance. We have contacted them and that insurance is only for the loan company not for us apparently. But the title company did not catch it either. They also didn’t catch a “gore” on the property, in the middle of a pasture of which was a pasture since the 80’s. The whole thing is very screwy and unethical. With what you provided, it seems that NOTHING can be refuted in court. What you provided is worded very iron clad for the seller and agents. So how would one ever even attempt a non disclosure case with a contract like that?

        • Take it to the Georgia Real Estate Division – they govern real estate agents/licenses and HOA disclosure. They will investigate on your behalf and determine recourse. At the very least, you will get an honest answer.

          Reply
  10. We own a property that 5 homes behind ours and they have an easement through our property. A new road has been built that that parallels those properties and they could now access that road by simply connecting to it easily. Can we force them to connect to that road thereby rendering our easement to them unnecessary? Also, they want to pave our easement to them which we have declined. The easement is currently gravel…

    Reply
    • Hello Kevin, easements (and real estate in general) are often covered by local laws and so what you are allowed to do will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In addition, easements are also governed by the specifics of the executed easement agreement. I would advise that you speak with a local real estate attorney who is familiar with local laws to see what your options are.

      Reply
      • In a related matter. One of the 5 that use the easement has allowed a trail through their property and we now have constant foot and bike traffic passing through our property on the easement that is only meant for the 5 homes behind us. Can we send them a cease and desist letter to stop the flow of pedestrians that eventually pass through our property. Are we liable if any of these pedestrians get injured as it stands now? Thanks in Advance!

        Reply
        • Hello Kevin, unfortunately, these are legal questions that I cannot answer. I would highly recommend working with a local land use attorney to see what your liabilities are and what recourse you may have.

          Reply
  11. Shared property line: Lot 1 (back/side property) claims “right of way/easement” to egress & ingress Lot 2’s deeded property and remove an abutting 10′ x 25′ of lawn area replacing this grass with gravel or paving as part of their driveway in order to connect and access Lot 2’s driveway which connects to a public street (260′ of “paper alley” — borough never accepted dedication of it as an alley for 73 years (1947). Borough zoning ordinance states: “Proposed driveway MUST CONNECT DIRECTLY TO A PUBLIC STREET.” Can Lot 1 legally remove Lot 2’s grass plot and construct a gravel/paved roadway to connect to the existing paved driveway of Lot 2? Lot 1 contends that by connecting to an already existing “roadway/driveway” that it meets the requirement of the Ordinance! They already have a driveway in the front of the house with a 2-car garage and a parking pad for two cars which connects to a public street.

    Reply
    • Hello Ellen, it really depends on what is specified in the easement agreement or deed as well as the county/city’s rules regarding driveways. I would have a local land use attorney review the situation and the language in all relevant legal documents to see if the owner of lot 1 is within their rights or not.

      Reply
  12. We purchased property and signed an easement and road maintenance plan. The easement is defined as 30 ft wide, used for access to other properties. The county is saying the easement is a private road with a building setback of 55 ft. Is an easement for this purpose the same as a private road?

    Reply
    • Hello Don, what is considered a road (private or otherwise) is generally based on the county’s rules and regulations. Unfortunately, if they are telling you that they would classify the easement as a private road, then that is what they would consider it from the standpoint of building and zoning regulations. However, you could always check with a local land use attorney to see if you have any options.

      Reply
  13. There is a road easement running through my property.We have a road maintenance association which maintains the road.The local electric company was responsible for a wildfire that killed many trees along the road.These trees are constantly falling on the road. All of the dead trees in the road maintenance easement should be cut down, as a matter of safety.I don’t have the money.The electric company has claimed responsibility.Sometime in the future, I will probably be awarded money to deal with these trees. They are extremely dangerous now, however. Is the safety of a road implied in a road Easement. Should the road maintenance association pay for the removal of the hazardous trees? The total cost could be divided among all of the owners.When I receive compensation for the destroyed trees from the electric company, I could reimburse the road maintenance association.

    Reply
    • Hello Dave, this all depends on what is specifically delineated in the easement and in the documents outlining the road maintenance association’s responsibilities. There may also be local laws that require the trees to be removed given that they are a safety hazard. You may want to speak with a local land use attorney to understand what your responsibilities are.

      Reply
  14. I own a private road with several houses on it. My one neighbor put metal stakes on the road about 3 inches from her yard. I asked her to take them down because they were on the road right of way and she argued they were on her yard. I told no I have a fifty foot road right of way to please remove them. The argument went on and on. I got my property map out and she still insists it’s her yard. I told her she had to remove the stakes because if someone scratches their vehicle I’m responsible not her. Now she’s very angry, but said she take them down but still is insisting it’s her yard not the road right of way. Am I right?

    Reply
    • Hello Gloria, it all depends on what the deed’s legal description says. The surveyor should have accurately mapped the right-of-way based on the metes and bounds in the deed, but you may also want to check with a local real estate attorney.

      Reply
  15. Hi

    If a right of way easement was made on my driveway at the bottom of a yard for a landlocked owner to use and the building on the land was then demolished making an open lot to the top yard owner also and another alternative access point was available at a road at the top of the yard which has been established for over 50 years for the top yard can the easement be revoked as not needed anymore as they can get to their property easier than through my drive?

    The whole lot is open and that alternative entrance has been used for over 28 years.. they want to use my drive again? Why?? They have access already and have been using freely for 28 years. Can they force me to take my back fence down and let them have my driveway as a road again??

    I stated it was only because the land at the time was land locked now its open at the top (28 years)

    Can they legally force me to open the road on my drive again?

    Reply
    • Hello Donna, it really depends on the language in the easement. I would recommend contacting a local real estate attorney to go over the language and advice you on what your rights are vis. the easement holder’s rights.

      Reply
  16. In a easement where both neighbors have a right of way. One neighbor has the land below him that he/she access to their property. They use the roadway as a dirt bike trail with the neighbors grandchildren which are in their 20s use it to speed up and down the roadway pass our house. We can’t even sit out in our yard when they are doing this and even inside it is very annoying. We have asked them to slow down when going by our house but the neighbor insists they have the right away and they can do whatever they want on it.

    Reply
    • I’m very sorry to hear about your situation, Barbara. You may have done so already, but if not, you might want to speak with a land use attorney to see if there is anything you can do about the nuisance.

      Reply
  17. Hello, I live on a paved private lane with access to public road, we have a street sign dictating that. it is a private lane, I have to go through 2 pieces of property to get to my house. what is that easement called And what rights do I have to that easement, for my neighbours to that easement. thank you

    Reply
    • Hello Mark, it really depends on the specific language in the easement. I would check with a local real estate attorney to see what they say. You can also look at your deed and see if any mention is made of an easement.

      Reply
  18. So I have a utility easement in the back part of my yard. However the community is using it as a trail to ride golf carts, dirt bikes, ATV, etc. The dirt that is kicked up makes it so I cannot sit in my backyard . I never know who is back there and I do not like strangers being on my property. I cannot put a fence across the easement road , as the utility company needs access.
    What if one of these kids gets hurt on my par of the property, am I liable?
    Is there a way to have them stop being on my property?

    Reply
    • Hello Debbie, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I would contact a local real estate or land use attorney to see what rights you may have and whether you may be liable should someone get hurt on the easement. You may also want to ask the utility company whether they would be willing to gate the easement themselves.

      Reply
  19. We are the easement holder and the easement owner is suing us for temporarily parking on the easement for a few days. The easement only goes to our lake house. It is a 30 foot easement and in the deed it is registered as “also an easement to be used for road purposes only” When I called the county recorder a few years ago she told me that with that wording, we are allowed to park on it. When I just called today I was told that they are now not allowed to give out legal advice. Our property is 1 acre in the corner of his 40 acres and the easement was designed so the owner of the lake house was able to get to the lake house. What do you think. the easement owner is also suing because our landscaper go dirt on “HIS” easement which is a gravel road. We are in Missouri

    Reply
    • Hello Kathy, since the rules regarding easements vary from state to state and situation to situation, I would recommend reaching out to a local land use attorney. I can’t give out legal advice myself, but it does seem strange that you could not park on an access easement.

      Reply
  20. There is an easement on the north side of our family property that is there in case someone needs to put a road there to access their property. This is rural property and the adjacent land owner has decided to put a road beside this easement for commercial purposes (he is making a sod farm). How far from the existing easement does he need to be to put his road? The reason that I ask is because another adjacent road may need to be built for others to access the property and I am concerned about 1. the road being on my property 2. if another road needs to be built parallel to the road he is building, how far should that road be from the existing easement?

    Reply
    • Hello Kitty, this will depend on the specifics of the easement as well as local laws and building codes. I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney for guidance.

      Reply
  21. more a question >
    If a property that was land locked and easements granted, and the land owner buys land that allows him to access a county road. ( same county road as access easement). The owner then build the land up for a road to his property.
    Can the easements be negated by the land owners due to the fact that the land is no longer landlocked????

    Reply
    • Hello Wayne, all questions regarding a specific easement should be run by a local real estate attorney since each easement is unique and laws and regulations vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, an easement is typically permanent (unless the easement agreement specifically lists a timeframe during which the easement will be in effect).

      Reply
      • I don’t think I need local help for the question I ask. “if the land is no longer land locked by owners action ( set up another road to his property). Is the easement on my land still a necessary evil?
        the people that own this easement are not happy with his idea of a road. He drags the road after a rain and the next day it rains, the dirt is washed away.!!

        Reply
        • Hello Wayne, is the easement already recorded?

          Reply
  22. Very informative. Question can a county easment holder along a public road bordering my land issue a permt to a neighbor to build a fence in the easment blocking my access to my property and an entrance road the road is a private road.

    Reply
    • Hello John, I would speak with a local land use attorney because it does depend on the specifics of the easement in question, local laws, who owns the easement as well as who owns your road.

      Reply
  23. Great article. I was under the assumption that a homeowner is allowed to plant shrubs/bushes on a utility easement as long as they recognize they may need to get taken down (at the owners expense) if the utility company has to access the land. Can an HOA prevent bushes from being planted on a utility easement and designate it as land that is not allowed to be used for anything? Also, would a homebuilder be able to use this land for community purposes (their own trees, planters, etc) and not a utility purpose? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello RS, this would depend on how the easement is written and what the utility company will allow. You may want to speak with the utility company or a land-use attorney to see what is permissible.

      Reply
  24. Hi Erika. We have a private road that is shared by 9 homes. I am not aware of any written easement. Originally there were 5, all relatives. (we’ll be the last ones soon, but weren’t part of the original 5) Last year the neighbors organized having crushed asphalt put down, and all but 1 helped pay. Now we have a new family moved in, and they have a different garbage company than the rest of us. Our neighbor is throwing a fit, how the extra truck will ruin the road, and has called multiple times to tell the company not to drive down the road any further than the house in question. There is a circle turn around at the end, that garbage and mail carriers use regularly. Does he have the right to dictate garbage companies, and/or how far down they can drive? We’ve never really treated this as an easement before, but as a road. Thanks much.

    Reply
    • Hello Debbie, it really depends on the status of the road. If the road is not a legal right-of-way, then each neighbor may be able to dictate how the road is used as it crosses over their property. However, I would check with a local real estate attorney to confirm.

      Reply
    • 25 foot turn around and onoif easement is in the title, not deed

      Reply
  25. We inherited 50 acres of land lock property. My uncle will not give us an easement so that we can legally use our property. We can’t build a house without an easement.

    Reply
    • Thank you for sharing, Heidi. I’m very sorry to hear about your situation.

      Reply
  26. How many easements can a neighbor claim to their property in a rural setting. They have one main road leading to their cabin and in our deed it states one easement/road. They are trying to claim another way to the back of their cabin from our property.

    Reply
    • Hello Jamie, the laws will vary from state to state, so I would recommend reaching out to a local land use attorney.

      Reply
  27. I have been able to determine that we do have an old easement on our property that runs from the public road where you enter our driveway and goes about 200 feet straight ahead to an old dirt road that is not in use anymore. My neighbor insists that he has a right to use it and that I cannot put up a gate at the entrance of our driveway but it is my understanding that since he has access to his property from another entrance, he does NOT have the legal right to use the easement? Is this correct

    Reply
    • Hello Jerry, my understanding is that an easement is generally permanent, but it depends on the language in the deed and the laws of your state. I would recommend discussing the situation with a local land use attorney.

      Reply
  28. We have allowed land-locked owners to access their 340 acres thru our property for 20 years. They are now subdividing the land for sale and want to allow the new property lot owners to access the property thru our road. They have not asked our permission. Can they do this?

    Reply
    • Hello Donna, if there is a formal easement in place, this often is transferred with the property so the new owner would have a right to utilize the easement. However, I would check with a local land use attorney, since what is and is not allowed will vary based on what is written in the easement agreement and local law.

      Reply
  29. I have an easement to my neighbor’s driveway that is in the deed. I rarely use his driveway except to access a part of my land inaccessible otherwise. The US Mail used to deliver packages to my house using this driveway but now they won’t because my neighbor placed a sign at the end of his driveway stating that appropriate driveway should be used for deliveries. I have a private driveway that is too small for a turnaround for the delivery trucks, but the driveway between us is huge with ample turnaround space. Is that sign legal? I live in Western NC in the mountains near Asheville.

    Reply
    • The driveway between us is the deeded easement stated in the deed as access to both properties for servicing. Servicing seems vague and I interpret that to mean access for delivery if needed. It doesn’t block my neighbor or inconvenience him.

      Reply
      • Hello William, I’m sorry to hear of your predicament. I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney since the rules and regulations around access easements vary from state to state.

        Reply
  30. Our neighbors have a 30’ wide easement to their land locked property through our property, so they can bring in a driveway and utilities to access their parcel. Their driveway and utilities are now both in place. (They veered out of the easement in so doing, although we did not mind). Now we would like to place a deer fence on the edge of the eased land, perhaps intruding a bit on the eased portion, but absolutely NOT blocking their driveway or their utilities. Our neighbors claim they control the entire 30’ width of the easement, and even though they have both a driveway and utilities, we cannot put up a fence, or otherwise develop the land.

    Question: if the provisions of the easement have been met – placement of driveway and utility lines – can we as the landowners put up a fence and plant trees on the eased portion of our property?

    Reply
    • Hello Jeannette, I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney. The answer is going to depend on the language in the easement as well as the laws in your state.

      Reply
  31. Hello Jeff, I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. I would recommend speaking with a land use attorney to discuss what your options are given local laws and the specifics of the easement in question.

    Reply
  32. Can renters use an easement onto a shared road, or only the owners.?

    Reply
    • Hello Ryland, I would check with your landlord and also take a look at the lease. I would think so, but it’s going to depend on the particulars of the lease and easement involved.

      Reply
  33. Good morning Erika,
    We purchased land with a road easement but the Private Road itself is NOT positioned equally down the middle of the property pin of our lot and the lot across the road. Can we mandate that the road be moved to Equally split the 2 property owners pins (our pin and property across the road)? It seems only fair to do so. Right now the entire private road and easement is on Our property wholly.
    Thank you for your insight.
    Janet

    Reply
    • Hello Janet, I would speak with a local land use attorney. I am not sure if you could mandate that the road be moved, but you may be able to work something out with the other easement holders.

      Reply
  34. We live on a private gravel road with 9 other houses. Some of the neighbors want to pave the road others do not. We do not have any road associations or hoa’s in place. How is it determined if it gets paved or not.

    Reply
    • This is a very interesting question. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer; however, if you could tell me where the property is located, I can speak with my lawyer and get back to you.

      Reply
  35. Almost 50 years ago My Dad bought land from a gentleman friend who kept a parcel in the back and built his home and had an easement road to come and go to get to it over by the side fence of our property. It has an additional 30 foot utility easement into our field. My dad allowed him to plant trees on the roadside
    (nothing in writing, just being nice) and let him put in sprinklers to get them established. Both parties have died years ago ( we bought my Dads place as originally set up and recorded) and the gentleman’s daughter in law now owns the back property as rental property but thinks the right away road and utility easement is actually their property to do as they please. The trees are well established but she insists on watering them for 8 hours at a time and in this water shortage we asked them not to water our land. We then found out that she thinks it’s their land but our property lines go across the deeded right of way to our other neighbors fence to the side of us. I explained that it is still our land and the road is deeded for their protected access but they want control of the grassy 30 feet into our field that is the easement for city for potential city utilities. If she insists on watering our grass and the trees and using the land like it’s theirs, can we legally cut the irrigation pipes that are buried on our land (city easement?)

    Reply
    • Hello Jacky, this sounds like a tricky situation. I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney to make sure you aren’t going to run into any issues if you choose to cut the irrigation pipes.

      Reply
  36. I don’t see any questions on. Who pays to put a road on an easement, The land owner or the person using the easement? Also who has the right to determine placement and size of culverts and who pays for them,? One more question, can a land owner bring in a surveyor or engineer and then charge the person wanting to put in the road and is covering the cost?

    Reply
    • Hello Victoria, my understanding is that the easement holder would typically pay to install the road (including the culverts), but each state has slightly different laws. In terms of who pays for the survey, I think this would be negotiated as part of the easement creation process; however, you may want to speak with a local land use attorney.

      Reply
  37. I bought 65 crew in Estespark Co. there is a utility road easement on the property and the only way I have to get to my new property. About 6 neighbors use this easement to get to their houses. My neighbors decided they don’t want me to have an easement because I paved the road and greed to maintain it myself. It was an old gravel road with big ruts in it. Informed them a year in advance of my plans to improve the easement. If I wanted to build the land owner a big garage he would cooperate I offered to pay for his lumber but he refused so I improved the road anyway. My attorney said I had the right. 3 of my neighbors have hired an attorney and want the paved road taken out and they want 100,000 each. My easement says utility road easement so do I have a legal easement? And can they prevent me from using the easement like they say? There has been an easement on the property since the 1800s and when I bought the property in 2018 I platted my property and the easement is on the platt. I’m worried my neighbors will be able to block me. They think I’m going to put in a subdivision because I paved the road but I’ve told them over and over again I don’t ever want to do that I just want this place for my self

    Reply
    • Hello Michel, this certainly sounds like a complicated situation. Unfortunately, since rules vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and the answer to your question is also heavily dependent on the language in the easement, I would recommend speaking with a local land use attorney.

      Reply
  38. Does the pre-existing zoning condition prior to the subdivision of and the creation of an isolated land parcel adjacent to a private road remain part of the understood basis of the implied access of necessity. Can the isolated land be changed from its previous residential designation to commercial by the easement holder without consent of the easement owner.

    Reply
    • Hello Doug, this question depends on the local zoning ordinance and other state laws. I would recommend speaking with the local planning department and/or a land use attorney. However, in my experience, only the owner of a property (not an easement holder) is able to request a rezoning or zoning variance.

      Reply
  39. I own a piece of rural property (property A). Another property (an old quarry, let’s call it B) unfortunately has an easement across ours. The easement deed states, “Grantee, its agents, independent contractors and invitees shall use the easement strip for road purposes only for the access to the property described in Exhibit B,” the old quarry. Right now, there are dozens of gravel trucks and other vehicles crossing our property to reach someone else’s “property C” beyond B, where they are buildings houses on what used to be a large non-residential hill. The owners of B think that as long as they are going through property B, anyone they like can use the road. Thankfully, this is temporary as they are doing this to pave their own road from the main road. But C also went across our property daily when he logged his new property. We are also concerned that B has bought more land adjacent them that they are trying to sell as house lots and those people might also think they can cross our property and do so permanently. The deed specifically says “only for access” to B. I am trying to find a lawyer to sort this out, but what do you think about all this piggy-backing? Can C tell his buddy D that he can cross my property if B is okay with it? Can anyone in the county drive across my property if they can find a way to their property via property B?

    Reply
    • Hello Tanya, this is really a question you should pose to a lawyer, but I would think if the deed specifically states that the easement should only be used to access parcel b, then all parties using it for other purposes do not have a legal right to do so. Again, I’m not a lawyer, so I would recommend speaking with a local attorney.

      Reply
  40. Erika: Thank you for your posts, very helpful. I have an appurtenant easement clearly granted in the deed of the easement owner, who has blocked access by placing a fence across the 50 foot wide right of way. Recourse?

    Reply
    • Hello Richard, I’m sorry to hear of your situation. If you have already spoken with the property owner and shown them the easement, and they still refuse you access, then you will likely need to speak with a lawyer about next steps.

      Reply
  41. I own a horse property in northern California. My neighbor has a deeded easement along one edge that runs through my horse pasture. They wanted not to have to open the two gates that allowed them access to their property, but kept my horses contained. I graciously allowed them to build a fence that would alleviate opening those two gates but said that if horses got loose on my land they would have to be closed once and awhile. Now they refuse to close even one of the gates and horses are going down the road every day to their land. It was my understanding that California law allows as many gates (as long as unlocked) that are needed to protect livestock while crossing grazing land on an easement. Can you help me find what the legal position is? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hello Gale, I try not to offer legal advice since I am not a lawyer. I do know that in many western states you can put gates on roads (within in reason) so long as they are unlocked. However, I would recommend speaking with a lawyer.

      Reply
  42. Hello,

    I am considering purchase 40 acres of land in a subdivision that has a loggers easement running through the property. The easement hasn’t been used in 20 years. The realtor has been processing a request to have the easement in the subdivision terminated and relocated as a fifty-foot-wide road at the very corner of the subdivision that would lead a mile up to the road the loggers need to log.

    Reply
  43. Erika,

    Does a road easement developed in a subdivision and approved by the planning board generally include power as well as egress?

    There is no limiting language on the deed, my client actually holds ROW, attached to his parcel, and all the houses along the road on the way to his uses this ROW for power, but the last neighbor is trying to block power to his parcel.

    My thoughts are that a ROW created in a subdivision automatically includes power. The assessor, the tax collector, the real property departments in the town, township and county agree. We can’t seem to get a straight answer from our attorney

    Reply
    • Hello Jeff, unfortunately, since this question varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction I can’t give you a set answer. However, I find it strange that the easement language in the deed (or other relevant documents) is not specific. Most of the time there will be a line that says something like, “an easement for ingress and egress and the construction and maintenance of utilities.”

      Reply
  44. I live on a Private road or as the deed states easement.I am the only person on the road named Wood lane.The town has it registered as a private road.One of the two people who live on the public road that my easement starts at has been using it to gain access to his back yard.His yard is a junkyard and an eyesore.He does not live on the private road;my easement.Does he have the right to do what he is doing.According to my deed in title and the town the road is part of my property through appurtenant.Again his address is Pond street not Wood lane.He constantly has people parking on it blocking my access!What should I do.

    Reply
    • Hello Todd, I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. He may very well not have a right to use your road, but you should speak with a local real estate attorney. You may also need to have a title search done to confirm that an easement was not in fact recorded that gives him access rights to the right-of-way.

      Reply
  45. I bought a 4 plex with a road and bridge going to my property. I was told that first 15 is county job to maintain, since hooks to busy st. Now bridge road is collading and they saying I have to fix. Ms. Gave last owner permit to built. Now they saying he did not built it right, so I have to pay, they won’t be responsible.

    Reply
    • I’m very sorry to hear about your situation, Jane.

      Reply
  46. An easement was granted that runs through my garage. The garage has existed since 1947; the easement (for both ingress/egress to three properties and utility) was granted in 1981. The ground around the garage foundation has begun to slough away. Does anything related to the easement prevent me from shoring up the soil to preserve my property, i.e. garage?

    Reply
    • Hello Atterol, I would check with a local real estate attorney, but I would think that you should have a right to shore and protect your garage.

      Reply
  47. Is there a general definition of ‘access” as it relates to roadway easements? Does “access” include walking, exercising, cycling, etc? The easement language states for “access and utility purposes”. It is a private roadway with no sidewalks or street lights.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Cindy, it really depends on the language in the easement the state laws. I would recommend speaking with a local real estate attorney.

      Reply
  48. I have a cousin that has land locked me out of my property and I can get to my dump to take items to it and I cant get to the back of my property the road have been open for more than 90yr and he decided to lock it up last year with no access for me to get it my other property this is family land as well . Could you give me advise

    Reply
    • Hello Connie, I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the best I can do is recommend that you speak to a local land use attorney. Best of luck!

      Reply
  49. Hi. My client owns 4 acres and is in the process of subdividing it into 3/4 acre tracts with a manufactured home on each. When creating a road to provide access to all the properties, how is the ownership of that road handled and how is maintenance structured as well? Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

    Reply
    • Hello Kristen, it really depends; however, in many circumstances, an HOA is formed that handles road maintenance. You may want to speak with a local real estate attorney to see how other subdivisions have drafted the subdivision covenants and handled road maintenance and ownership.

      Reply
  50. I bought, through an auction, a property and the title shows that in 1948 a road. The surveyor that did the original survey said that their was not a road. The city agrees there is no road on the plot. I am selling this property, the Closing attorney has a problem with the sell because of the title check. How do I proceed, the Attny has no idea.

    Reply
  51. Hi Erika,

    I bought vacant property off of a Cartway/minimal maintenance road, and I found out that the township is no longer providing any maintenance to that road. Is there a way now that us property owners (if all in agreement) that live off of that road can put a gate up indicating “Private Property” so that people that do not live there can’t travel through there any longer? I spoke with somebody from the county and they recommended that I talk with an attorney, as they did not know how to advise on that.

    Thanks,
    Ryan

    Reply
    • Hello Ryan, you should speak with an attorney because my understanding is that if the road is a public right-of-way, you would not be able to block it even if the town is no longer maintaining it.

      Reply
  52. I Live in Massachusetts, I have a 6 feet wide right of way to access my property. The neighbor claims that I cannot use vehicles that are wider than the 6 feet over than what the right of way stated in the deed. He even prevent my contractors from performing work at the bank owned property I purchased. My lawyer told me that I must abide by the 6 feet wide right of way to prevent legal repercussion. I have no other way to do any improvements to the house other than violating the 6 feet wide right of way since most contractors have vehicles wider than 6 feet wide. The neighbor told me that I cannot enter my Suburban in the yard to park on my property. Does he have legal leverage, or can I challenge this in court?

    Reply
    • Hello Peter, since laws regarding easements vary from state to state, I would highly recommend speaking with another local lawyer to see if you have any other options. You could also ask whether an easement by necessity may apply in your case. Good luck!

      Reply
  53. I have a purchased a lot with an ingress and egress easement. It comes off a private road stated in the easement and runs across the top of my neighbors lot.
    My neighbor is insistent that I compensate them for their property the new easement road is on. They are insisting the road was illegally put in and I owe them compensation. I have a clearly written easement signed and recorded by the county. Am I subject to payment?

    Reply
    • Hello Joel, it’s hard for me to answer this questions since it depends on the laws of the state you are in as well as the specifics of your easement. If the easement is already in effect, I wouldn’t think you would have to pay them for it, but I would recommend speaking with a local real estate attorney.

      Reply
  54. Hi Erika, as you can see from the numerous issues that arise from an access easement thru a private property to an adjoining otherwise landlocked property, the many issues that can arise such as too many cars traveling at an unsafe speed, mail trucks and tv and phone repair trucks traveling fast and damaging the road surface, if you were to guess, how much do you think an easement damages the value of the property owner’s property, I would say it would be at least 15% and up to 25%. Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi John, that’s very hard to say as easement vary widely in their use. I would recommend speaking to a local realtor.

      Reply
  55. Hi, we live in an unincorporated rural area in northern ca. We have a private road (told it was an easement) that 7 houses live on. The easement goes through everyones property to a dead end. We own the first 3 properties on this private road/easement which is half the road. We have new neighbors from a public road down the street that are joy riding down our road with motorcycles and golf carts and loose dogs. We have told them its not a public road like there’s, it’s private and for those who live here not them. They keep telling us we don’t own the road and they can do what they want and if they befriend our neighbor down our private road we can’t do anything.
    What are our options? Do we have the right to tell them they can not joy ride down our road they do not live on? How do you deal with someone who refuses to accept his road is public and ours is private with easement?

    Reply
    • Hello Maria, I’m very sorry to hear of your situation. The best I can do is recommend that you speak with a lawyer to see what your options are to get them to desist. Best of luck!

      Reply
  56. We have a private road (easement) for four homes to access our properties. In the past six month the property on the corner was sold and the new owner is putting up obstruction to our private road shrinking the size with metal post, cinder blocks, bricks, and a huge tree log. The new neighbor also put up a 8 foot fence just a foot off the main road, forcing us to pull out on the main road. Who do we contact to get him to stop and remove the obstructions. The road has been in existence for 60 years, the four homeowner pay to maintain it. Concern for emergency or utility vehicle may turn away due to the obstructions. thank you

    Reply
    • Hello Brenda, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. My understanding is that you would likely need to contact a local attorney to help you enforce your rights to the road. I know this isn’t the ideal response, but I do hope you are able to find a way to resolve the issue.

      Reply
  57. We live on a rural road that becomes gravel just past our driveway, and goes for miles. It’s public, but now used only by loggers, hunters, and gas well technicians. It becomes so rutted it’s impassable after a rain and/or log trucks make deep ruts, because now the roadway is more dirt than gravel. The county re-grades it once or twice a year, to even out the ruts. But instead of spreading more gravel, they are cutting farther and farther over into our property, using our dirt to build up the road. Every time they grade, the road gets wider and wider by a few inches. I’m not sure the county even has a written policy on how wide their right-of-way is on rural roads. We’ve spoken to our county representative about it, but the practice continues. I don’t want my property to keep getting whittled down (we have probably lost 15′ over the last 25-30 years), I don’t like losing my trees and vegetation, and I don’t want to keep giving them soil, for free. Plus, the dirt washes off the road and into our pond, fouling it, far more than it did when they regularly refreshed the gravel. What should we do at this point? What if it turns out the county has no official right-of-way? Is there a standard ROW width for public roadways? We are in Louisiana. I used the term “county” just to reduce confusion, because the rest of America is unfamiliar with the French term for county in our state, which is “parish”. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hello Miriam, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. You should hire a title company and local land use lawyer to do some research and confirm that the road is actually a public road. A lawyer can then tell you if you have any legal recourse. My guess is that it will be hard to get the county to stop expanding the road, but maybe you can push for some compensation.

      Reply
  58. Hi Erika,
    Our NC property borders a Town Public right of way, ingress/egress/regress easement. The Town permitted us to allow our driveway on that access road. Now the NEW owner of the commercial property that actually owns the easement has informed us he is “taking back his property” and putting up a gate and fence along the edge of that easement cutting us off from our driveway access. This public easement connects 2 town roads. I realize I will need to contact a land attorney, but do you have any immediate insight?

    Reply
    • Hello Kerry, unfortunately, I cannot offer any additional advice. The best thing you can do is what you have already done: hire a local real estate attorney. Best of luck!

      Reply
  59. I have a golf cart path easement on my property. Who is responsible for cutting down a large dead tree in the easement, me or the golf course? State of Ohio.

    Reply
    • Hello Marie, it really depends on the specifics of the easement as well as local laws. Unfortunately, however, it is often the property owner (not the easement holder) who is responsible for maintenance.

      Reply
  60. Hello
    I purchased a 4.27 Acres property that has a recorded easement for a private road. The current existing private road is about 300 ft south of my property. The road serves several properties south of my property.
    I negotiated a price with the seller and agreed that I will extend the private road at my own expense to reach my property. Across of my property ( to the west) , there is another vacant land owned by another person. When I extend the private road, we obviously both benefit from this. The neighboring property, just like us, wouldn’t be able to build on their land without extending the private driveway.
    Now here is my question:
    Can we ask/require the neighboring property to share the cost of extending the driveway as recorded in the private road easement or are there legal obligations that would require both parties to share the cost of extending the driveway since we both benefit from this extension? The recorded easement is silent on this aspect but it does describe the right of way easement and all the surveying dimensions as per local ordnance.
    Thanks
    MJ

    Reply
    • Hello MJ, I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the question of who pays for any road improvements on an easement is more of a negotiation between the parties involved rather than a legal question. However, as I usually do, I would recommend speaking with a local attorney.

      Reply
  61. Erika,
    We live in a community with a road easement. One of the owners have subdivided and rezoned a piece of their property from open rural to commercial high intensive and sold to a developer who is building a tire store. Does the tire store enjoy the rights of easement that the original parcel had? All other parcels on the easement remain open rural.

    Reply
    • Hello Randall, my understanding is that easements typically run with the land in perpetuity (even if the land use changes), but I would recommend speaking with a local real estate attorney.

      Reply
  62. This was very helpful! Theylre is an easement on my property “for the purposes of a road” for the local township that owns the neighboring park. There is a trail that overlaps my property. The easement is filed stating that it is in effect “as long as the adjoining 63.955 acre parcel of land … remains under the ownership of [the township] and is used for park purposes”. Would that mean that if the park sold a bunch of the land that I could revoke the lease?

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    • Hello John, unfortunately, I am not an attorney so I cannot say for sure. I would recommend speaking with a local real estate attorney.

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  63. Being a deeded road owner and road easement owner can an easement holder pave my private road without my permission? Would that be trespass?

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    • Hello Jack, just to clarify, are you the property owner or the easement holder?

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  64. I have a easement from the property owner next door. I put in an electric gate . Can I put the post with a code punch pad in the legal easement to access my property?

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    • Hello Dawn, I would think so, but I would recommend discussing this with the property owner and, possibly, a real estate attorney.

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  65. Hello Erika & Thanks for your time ! I own property that came with a roadway through our land?And my land joins to another parcel of land that joins both my land,And the adjoining 2 parcels of land together with my land?Now the owner of the land that joins my land is asking for an Easement?Of the roadway through my land which joins his land?Now erika?Here’s were i am stumped? The land i own has a roadway through the backland of my land connecting to the other ;andowner adjoining my roadway through his land?If the other landowner doesn’t have a home?And just a parcel of land connecting to my roadway?Can the other landowner make me sign an easement document? And let me also state this? Now the other person hardly ever comes to his adjoinging Land to look over it?And maybe clear some parcel or two of his land sometimes?I’ve already gave the other person a verbal agreement access to my roadway anytime to his land with np problem?But now he wants me to sign an easement of this roadway for his use and Lord knows whom ever he decides to let drive on my roadway during all through the days and nights? But ne is so crooked i’m afraid to sign any easement he had his lawyer write up? And i’ll say this and shut up,lol. He has plenty of money to make his own roadway to his property without using my roadway?But he’s so cheap he does’nt want to pay for a roadway to access to his own land which he has all opportunity to build?Van he force me to sign an easement anyways?

    Reply
    • Hello Jay, I’m sorry to hear about your situation. I don’t believe you can be forced to sign an easement, although if the landlocked property owner’s lot does meet certain requirements, they may be able to go to court and apply for one. Still, I would speak with an attorney to better understand your options.

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  66. So on my road the person that lives close to the main road, but has easement on my road to access his house, several hundred feet off the main road. Does he also now has access to go down my entire road (over a 1/4 mile) to the turn around down by my house? I think he can utilize the road to get from the main road to his house and back. What are your thoughts on this? I have cameras on my road and it keeps sending me photos of him driving all the way down for no known reason.

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    • Hello Scott, the easement may state the dimensions (including the length) of the easement provided, and this could help provide some clarity. You could also have a survey done and ask that the surveyor delineate the easement on the survey so that it is clear where it begins and ends.

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      • Thank you for the reply, I have an survey set up for the spring for a lot line marking , I’ll address that with them at that time. Appreciate the help.

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  67. Hi Erika, thank you for the great and thorough article. My easement question is slightly different. I live in a HOA community. The lots were originally platted in 2008. In 2015, the developer who owns and lives in the development decided to replat a few lots by making them bigger, and removing some of the community property. In 2019, I purchased one of those lots with future plans to build a new home. While developing a floorplan, we discovered that the electrical pad vault was positioned right in the middle of where the driveway would be located. In other words, prior to the replat of the lots, the vault was located at the lot line (in the utility easement) where you always see them in residential neighborhoods. When the developer re-platted the lot to make it larger, the lot line moved some 12 feet, but the vault was not relocated to the new lot line. Was and is this the developer’s responsibility to relocate the vault so that it does not interfere with ingress and egress via the driveway?

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    • Hello Jonathan, this is a really good question. I’ve actually never encountered this issue before. Have you reached out to the developer directly? If so, and they aren’t responsive, I would recommend speaking with a real estate attorney. Best of luck!

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      • Thanks for the reply, yes I figured this probably doesn’t happen very often and I do plan to speak with an attorney on the issue (I’m already at odds with the developer/HOA on another issue!)

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  68. My question is “perpetual easement for roadway purpose” is this still private or does this mean it is now a public road I live in Fairbanks Alaska and from everything I have found and read my opinion is this is still private not a public road.. please let me know anything that might help me..

    a) A perpetual easement for roadway purpose• over and upon e East 10 feet of Parcel “A•,
    b) a perpetual easement for utility purpose• over and upon the West 20 feet of the East 30 feet of Parcel •A•,
    c) A perpetual easement for roadway purposes over and upon the North 10 feet of the East 700 feet of Parcel •A•,
    d) A perpetual easement for utility purposes over and upon the South 20 feet of the North o feet of the East 700 feet of Parcel •A•, ·
    e) A perpetual easement for roadway purposes over and upon the West 30 feet of Parcel B
    f) A perpetual easement for roadway purposes over and upon the South 30 feet of the West 380 feet of Parcel B

    Reply
    • Hello Ashley, it depends on the situation. Typically an easement only grants rights to the easement holder (which would not make it a public road). However, when an HOA or other similar community is involved, you will often find that all property owners within the subdivision will have the right to use the road. I hope this helps!

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  69. Hello Erika,t t
    I live in a private subdivision with no formal HOA. Informal one that was set up years ago for primarily road maintenance and snow removal. We have 24 properties, 21 with dwellings. We asked all to contirbute an annual fee to help. We only have about 16 that will pay. How can we get others to pay? Formal HOA? Small claims court?
    Thanks for any advice

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    • Hello Susie, I would recommend speaking with a local real estate attorney. Generally HOAs are able to place liens on properties when HOA dues aren’t paid and then eventually foreclose on the delinquent property, but the process for doing this should be discussed with your attorney.

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  70. I bought my house with easements to my property with no road association\HOA. Some want to start a road association\HOA. Do I have to join? Will they put a lien on my house if I sell?

    Reply
    • Hello Eric, it really depends. I believe that inclusion in an HOA is usually voluntary when you are an existing property owner and the organization is being formed, but I would recommend working with a lawyer.

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