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A property owner’s guide to easements

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Real Estate |

Easements, a legal concept governing land use, play an important role in property rights. In California, various types of easements exist, each serving distinct purposes that impact how landowners utilize their properties.

By understanding the allowances and limitations of different types of easements, you can better maintain your property and its value.

Express easements

Express easements are formal agreements between property owners, explicitly outlining the rights granted. These are often in written form and recorded in property deeds. For instance, if Property A allows Property B to use a specific portion of the land for access, an express easement ensures the legality and clarity of this arrangement.

Easement by necessity

In some instances, easements are necessary to ensure access to adjacent plots of land. These easements by necessity typically apply when breaking up a piece of land into different plots, and access to one plot can only occur by traversing another. This situation can result after a large plot of land becomes parceled out.

Implied easements

Unlike express easements, implied easements arise not from a written agreement but from circumstances, actions or the nature of the relationship between property owners. An easement by necessity is a common form of implied easement.

Prescriptive easements

Prescriptive easements develop over time through continuous, open and uninterrupted use of another’s property. If an individual openly uses a portion of someone else’s land without permission for a statutory period, usually five years in California, they may establish a prescriptive easement.

Understanding the nuances of these easement types is important for property owners to navigate land use regulations effectively. When you are aware of these legal considerations, you are more likely to experience harmonious coexistence and responsible land use.