Easements: What You Need to Know
An easement is a right for someone else other than the owner to use a property in a specific way. While some easements can be beneficial or necessary for the public good, others can significantly affect the value of a property. For that reason, easements are one of the major potential title issues that are closely reviewed during the title search process.
Common Forms of Easements
There are several common kinds of easements that may occur on a property, including:
- Utility Access: Many properties carry easements that allow utility companies to run power or cable lines through the property. In addition, many properties also allow water companies to lay new piping and commence other upgrades.
- Right of Way: In some cases, especially in the case of "landlocked" properties, the owner of one property may need to walk or drive through another individual's property in order to enter their own. Other right of way easements include walking paths to public areas which may temporarily cross through private property.
- HOA Easements: In neighborhoods, communities, or condominiums managed by a homeowner's association (HOA), neighbors may have the right to pass through certain common areas.
Legal Forms of Easements
While the three types of easements discussed above are quite common, each of them fit into one of the legal categories of easements, which include:
- Easements in gross: These are typically recorded in a property deed, and are specific in nature. I.e., a power company is allowed to come onto a property to do specific repairs.
- Easement appurtenant: An example of this would be a shared driveway between two homes, or access road across one property that leads to another. Many of these man not be reported on deeds or surveys, or even official title reports.
- Prescriptive easement: Much like adverse possession, this kind of easement occurs when one or more people continue to use an area of a property without the owner's permission, and, over time, they retain the legal right to keep doing so.
Title Insurance Can Protect Against Unrecorded Easements
While title insurance won't protect against every easement (i.e. easements in gross), it can often protect against easements that you don't know are there. These unrecorded easements could significantly affect your ability to run a business (for commercial properties), or even make it difficult or impossible to resell your home.
To learn more about how to protect your property rights with title insurance, contact the title company experts at Florida Title Company today for a free consultation.