Many property owners, tenants, and other property occupants in California use easements in their daily life without really paying any attention to the legal considerations. Easements afford legal rights to a non-owner to use a property for a specific purpose. These usually last forever but can be set up to be valid for a certain period of time.
You may want to know more if you are looking to remove an easement on your property. There are several ways of terminating an easement in California. It is best to speak with an experienced real estate attorney and determine the most effective legal solution in your situation.
Easements Can be Permanent or Temporary
In general, easements are permanent and remain until something specific happens. There are clauses and terms within the contract binding the two parties together. Other aspects can also be specified in the contract, such as exclusive, express, or implied. There are certain easements that remain in effect even after the original landowner passes away.
Conservation easements are usually permanent in nature to protect the land. It can be difficult to extinguish permanent easements. You may require an attorney to carry out the necessary research and take the case to court.
Specific Easement Terms
Certain easement agreements have an express expiration date. The clauses in the document will have a concept of expiration or a specific day of termination if both parties agree to this term. For instance, there may be express clauses regarding the termination of the easement when the landowner sells the land to a new person, or the business gets dissolved.
Typically, easement terms specifically mention the events required for extinguishing an easement. It will also mention what the deal requires for any future benefits. You should hire a real estate attorney to review the terms and ensure it is in your best interests.
Specific Purpose for Easement Termination
In some easement agreements, there are specific purposes mentioned. This allows access in case of certain situations. For instance, a partial portion may be opened on a property to grant access to a neighbor if the land adjoining a public road is no longer open.
However, in this case, the easement will automatically get terminated when the road is open again. Similarly, a landowner is usually required to grant a temporary easement if a building has no access because of condemnation or destruction. The easement will continue till access can be created.
Express Release from Easements
You may be able to terminate an easement by creating a deed and extinguishing it. The dominant owner may decide to transfer the easement through deed to a servient owner. If the easement and servient land are owned by the same person, they can merge the two and terminate the easement.
The landowner with an easement on their property can also purchase the adjoining land that requires access because of need. In this case, the need for the easement will get terminated.
The landowner or the easement owner can abandon the situation at any point. The easement can be abandoned by the parties if the need for it disappears. The ownership of an easement can be terminated if it is no longer viable or required.
An easement that is no longer active doesn’t necessarily become inactive though. Instead, the easement ends if it is inactive because of abandonment. If an easement holder stops using the easement, it clearly shows that they no longer have a need and can give up ownership.
Breach of Contract
An easement can exist when two parties agree to it. However, a breach of conditions or clauses of the agreement may result in the termination of the easement. This type of breach may also specify that the easement should have been extinguished because of the easement holder’s actions.
There should be something defined in the contract clauses to this effect. If not, the parties may need to proceed to the courts to enforce contract stipulations and terminate the easement because of the breach.
Easement Termination Should be Legally Sound
You cannot assume with certainty that an easement on the property or land you own or want to acquire was ended by any of the aforementioned methods. You need proper legal legwork and thorough research to determine the termination option that is most feasible for your needs. It is possible that the termination results in litigation making it necessary to work with a proven attorney.
Legal Help is Here from Highly-Rated Real Estate Attorneys in Northern California
The results-driven attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP operate on the principle that real estate is too valuable to leave anything to presumption or chance. If you have a matter related to real estate law, our attorneys can make sure that all legal bars are cleared, and your rights are fully protected.
To set up your comprehensive consultation with a member of our team, call us at (415) 399-2900 or reach us online.