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Understanding Easements In California

Last updated on September 21, 2023

Easements are a very complex aspect of real estate law. Petitioning for, drafting and implementing easements can raise disputes between even the friendliest of neighbors.

Cadden & Fuller LLP has represented numerous clients, both property owners and those seeking easements, in all property law issues. To help our clients understand this niche legal area, we have compiled some of the questions we hear most frequently.

Q: What exactly is an easement?

An easement is the right to use a landowner’s property. It grants the holder a nonpossessory interest in someone else’s land. Read this article by Cadden & Fuller LLP to learn more about easements.

Q: When are easements necessary?

Numerous scenarios may require easements. For example, if a homeowner cannot access their driveway without crossing through their neighbor’s yard, they can request an easement to cross the property.

Q: What are the four types of easements in California?

  • Express easements are written agreements between the landowner and another party.
  • Prescriptive easements are when someone gains an easement without the landowner’s consent by claiming to have used the property for at least five years.
  • A court may grant an implied easement if it can establish that the property owner intended to grant an easement.
  • Court orders are also necessary for easements of necessity, in which one party cannot access their land without using the property owner’s.

Q: What does an easement dispute entail?

Easement disputes can encompass many issues:

  • One party wants an easement, but the property owner does not.
  • The parties dispute the scope of the easement.
  • The landowner wants to end an existing easement.
  • The landowner sells their property to a new owner.

To resolve a complex easement dispute, the parties may need to negotiate a resolution or proceed to court to obtain a verdict.

Q: How do I get an easement? How do I contest an easement?

Although everyone has the option to negotiate a private arrangement with a neighbor to use their land, these agreements do not always hold up in court. It is wise to have an attorney draft a legally sound contract or petition the court for an easement.

Many landowners can negotiate with the easement holder to adjust its terms. However, preventing a court order for an easement or removing an existing easement may necessitate civil action.

Ask More Questions About Easements

Contact Cadden & Fuller LLP in Irvine to speak to an attorney about more issues involving easements. With 25 years in practice, we are ready to help you. Schedule an initial consultation by calling the firm at 949-359-4485, or you can send an email.