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Easements you might come across on a commercial property

Even in the digital age, most businesses are based out of a brick-and-mortar commercial space. Whether it’s a small office for customers to visit, a production facility or a retail shop, these companies literally exist within their communities.

Having the right property – one that sets your business up for success, rather than detracts from it – is crucial. One thing that might impact this is an easement.

The basics of an easement

What is an easement? Essentially, it is permission for one party to utilize a portion of a piece of land they don’t own. For example, if you own a piece of property that can only be accessed by a private road that travels through another individual’s land, that landowner might grant you an easement to travel on their private road.

Government entities or utility companies also commonly have easements on private property, allowing them to do service work or maintenance as needed.

When someone is granted an easement, they don’t own the land in question. Rather, they just have the right to use it for a specific purpose and can not prevent anyone else from also utilizing that land. The landowner, meanwhile, still maintains full control of whatever piece of their property has an easement on it.

Types of easements

We’re going to highlight four common types of easements:

  • An easement by express grant is when one property owner explicitly permits an easement. This is usually recorded in a deed, contract or another written document.
  • An easement by implication often happens when one large plot of land is divided into two or more smaller sections. This can create a circumstance where one property is no longer directly accessible via public road. An easement through one of the parcels often solves this.
  • Similarly, an easement by necessity occurs when a piece of property is fully surrounded by other private property, and the only way to enter or exit is through other private property.
  • Lastly there is easement by prescription. This can happen when someone has been using part of another person’s property for a long time openly, continuously and notoriously. If this is the case, courts my grant an easement making this use official.

What business owners should keep in mind

If you’re looking at a commercial property, it’s vital to know everything about the parcel. If access is reliant on an easement, you should be aware of the exact terms – especially if your business requires visits from customers.

On the other side, if the property you are eyeing is a servient property – meaning an easement allows someone else to use a portion of it – you ought to know that. It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with whatever arrangement is in place, and that it won’t impact your business.

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