Tag Archive for: easement

Important Things to Know About Terminating An Easement In California

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.

Abandoned Easements

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.

Do Easements Transfer with The Sale of Property in California?

Easements provide an individual or entity to use a portion of private property for a specific purpose. These non-possessory rights are typically mentioned in the property deed but could be missed out in certain situations. Easements that are not specified in a property deed usually come to an end when the property is sold, the grantor passes away, or an expiration date has been reached.

It’s crucial that you speak with a reliable real estate attorney in California because there might be unique circumstances that keep the easements active even when the property is sold.

Effect of Sale on Different Types of Easements in California

The basic framework for easements in California Civil Code is detailed between sections 801 – 813. The framework provides an overall look at easement guidelines that landowners and city officials are required to adhere to. This is how different types of easements are treated when a property is sold in California.

  1. Express Easements

Express easements are the most common type of easement in California. These can be obtained by both individuals and entities via a reservation or grant. Express easements when granted give another entity or individual the right to use a portion of the land for right-of-way purposes.

Express easements when reserved, refer to an easement that has been transferred with the property on sale of the land from one individual to another. The original owner in this situation reserves the easement for the benefit of the individual or entity.

  1. Implied Easement by Existing Use

Implied easement by existing use is a different type of easement in which the law states that there is a previously implied easement between two parties. This is even when there is no record of a written agreement. The individual or entity that believes that they are able to use a part of the property as an easement will need to show that they were earlier able to use the property for a specific purpose.

  1. Easement by Necessity

This type of easement occurs when the specific use of land is absolutely necessary. This type of easement doesn’t need any pre-existing easements on the land. Any easement on the land will automatically get transferred when the property is sold. Easement by necessity is usually provided when someone’s property is landlocked and the only way through is by using a portion of another’s property.

  1. Prescriptive Easement

A prescriptive easement is a type of easement that is granted to an individual or entity after they continue to use a portion of another’s land for a certain period of time. A prescriptive easement may still be granted if the use of land was not permitted by the owner.

Building on a Property with Easement

Utility easements are the most common type of easements on California property. Many property owners believe that they won’t be allowed to build on a property if it has a utility easement. This is not entirely true. You can do a lot of different things with your property as long as you don’t interfere with the ability to use and access the area for water, sewer, gas lines, or any other utility purpose.

If you have an easement in gross on your property, the individual can use it as a right of way, for burial purposes, for the right to pasture, and for fishing among other things. You can always build something simple on an easement, such as a fence. Moreover, you need to remember that the fence can always be taken down to use the easement. The utility company will do everything possible to repair the fence as best as they can.

Many property owners also build hot tubs and pools on easements. Above-ground pools can be easily removed when the easement has to be used. You should refrain from planting trees and other large vegetation. Based on this, you can always have a flower bed or shrubs.

Terminating Easements on a Property

Easements are typically designed to continue for an indefinite period. In relation to this, there are several ways for a property owner to terminate easements. This includes:

  • Express agreement: You can get into an agreement with the easement holder to terminate the easement.
  • Abandonment: In this, the easement holder takes action that stops them from using the easement.
  • Merger: Dominant estate owner can obtain the title to the servient estate.
  • Ending by necessity: This occurs when the easement is no longer deemed to be necessary.

It’s fundamental to understand that abandonment needs to be permanent. Not using the easement for a short period of time doesn’t refer to abandonment. There are several other nuances that come into play making it important to retain the services of a skilled real estate attorney.

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At Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP, we pay attention to our clients and pursue their interests with a steadfast commitment and sharp focus. Our seasoned attorneys have an in-depth understanding of California’s real estate laws and will carefully evaluate your issues and concerns to provide you with the right legal advice. To book your consultation with our team, call us at (415) 849-2564 or reach us online.

Understanding And Resolving Easement Disputes in California

According to a recent survey, 17% of real estate issues were found to be boundary disputes between neighbors. This occurs when residents are uncertain about where their property begins and ends.

Unfortunately, easement disputes can quickly become ugly, lengthy, and expensive. An experienced real estate attorney can help you with skilled legal guidance and direction if you are involved in a boundary dispute with your neighbor.

Overview of Easement Issues in California

An easement refers to a situation in which an entity or individual has the legal right to use or occupy the land of another person for a particular purpose. However, the landowner retains the title. Such property is usually termed “servient estate.” The property owner can keep every other person from using the land except the easement holder.

Types of Easements in California

There are four general types of easements that apply to properties in California. These are:

Easement by Express Grant

Express easements are created when the easement is granted by the landowner. This allows another entity or person to use the land as specified or directed.

An express easement can be created using a contract, grant, deed, or any other form of written document. It’s recommended that you work with a trusted attorney to draft the express easement document. This will help prevent common disputes from cropping up at a later date.

Easement by Implication

The second type of easement is by implication. This is created when it becomes certified by law that there was a previous easement between the two parties (although implied). It’s necessary for the claimant of the implied easement to bring proof that they had the landlord’s word or were already able to use the servient estate for a defined purpose.

Easement by Necessity

Easement by necessity happens when there is no other option but to use the land for the intended purpose. It becomes absolutely necessary to allow the use of land for the specified purpose in easement by necessity. This happens when there may not be any possible alternative for accessing the other person’s property. For instance, a landlocked party will need to use their neighbor’s property for accessing their own property.

Easement by Prescription

A prescriptive easement is generally granted when an individual continues using a part of another person’s land for a certain time period. Easement by prescription can be granted even if the landowner did not specifically permit the use of the land.

Common Examples of Easement Disputes in California

Easement disputes between neighbors are a common issue in California as previously stated. These are a few common easement and boundary disputes between neighbors:

  • Trespassing: Landowners have an express right to keep their property safe from unwanted intruders and strangers. A neighbor driving through another’s land every day can be considered trespassing if it is without permission.
  • Interference: Interference happens when the actions of a person hinder or affect the purpose for which the property easement was granted in the first place. The person interfering with the use of easement can be held responsible for their actions.
  • Zoning: Zoning and land-use regulations, which prevent a landowner from using the property can be the cause for an easement dispute between the landowner and the city.

Easement and boundary disputes should not be taken lightly. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are involved in one. In fact, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney even before you formally discuss the issue with your neighbor.

Your attorney will be able to help direct the conversation in the right direction while maintaining your best interests. They may also outline the available legal actions at your disposal in order to obtain a favorable outcome.

Resolving an Easement Dispute

Easement disputes frequently turn into frustrating and lengthy arguments. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are a few possible ways of resolving a dispute if you are a property owner who is frustrated by an easement.

  • Try and resolve the disagreement mutually by opening a discussion with your neighbor. This approach usually works with neighbors that are friendly, reasonably minded, and community-driven.
  • Try to enter into a contract or agreement with the easement holder for the purpose of putting an end to the easement entirely.
  • Purchase the neighbor’s property if you have the means and your neighbor agrees.
  • Send a demand letter to the easement holder or neighbor. Note: it is best to have your letter drafted or at the very least reviewed by an experienced attorney.
  • Use the threat of legal action as leverage to negotiate with the easement holder or neighbor. Using a document that is drafted by a well-established law firm usually works well with this strategy.
  • Speak with a dedicated attorney about legal remedies that are available for limiting or terminating the easement.
  • If other more amicable measures have been exhausted, file a lawsuit against the easement holder to recover monetary damages if they improperly used the easement and caused you to sustain compensable losses.

Consult With an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in California

The experienced team of real estate attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds is committed to offering comprehensive representation with regard to easement disputes and other types of boundary dispute issues. We encourage you to set up a case evaluation by calling us at (415) 849-2564 or reaching out to us online.