My clients often bring me easements to review. If an easement is recorded and runs with the land it will be enforceable no matter how old it is. Some of the easements I have reviewed are more than fifty years old and typed up on a type writer. It often takes a bit of work interpreting these easements as terms often change.
I first determine what type of easement it is: for access, ingress, egress, for utilities, for a water well, etc. Next it is important to determine the extent of the easement and whether it’s exclusive or limited for certain purposes. If there is a question as to where the easement actually is located on the property, we can pull the plats or get help from a surveyor.
Lastly, it is important to determine if the parties have any additional responsibilities under the recorded documents. That is, access easements often come with a road maintenance agreement wherein all the parties must pay equal share for the road.
Along with interpreting and advising onto the legality and scope of easements, I also draft all types of easements. I do this for neighbors who have reached an agreement concerning a shared driveway’s location or utilities or developers who want to ensure that the parcels all have access to nearby roadways or shared access to a water source. I draft easements in a way that is easy to understand so a person reviewing it fifty years from now will not have any trouble interpreting.
I also litigate easement disputes. These disputes often arise when parties cannot agree on the scope of an easement. If a party has an access easement to their home do they also have access for customers if they start an in-home business? If a party has access to a well can they subdivide their land and build additional homes that will also have access to the well? If a party is mistaken as to the location of an easement for a long period of time does that location then become the easement? These are all types of issues that come up in litigation that I work with my client and the adverse party to resolve.