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How Can I Clear a Real Estate Easement on My Property?
An easement is a legal agreement between two parties that allows one party to have some access to the other person's real estate property. Before you purchase a piece of real estate, the seller's real estate attorney should disclose the existence of any easements.
How do you know if there's an easement on your property? In many instances, easements are documented through explicit written documents that are signed by both property owners.
Imagine, for example, that your property (known as the dominant estate) is adjacent to a road and your neighbor's property (known as the servient estate) is located behind yours. Your neighbor might have an easement that allows him to use your driveway to access the road from his property. But if the city has built a sidewalk that runs the length of your property, that's also an easement. As are utility poles that may run across your property.
All of these should be disclosed in a title insurance report you receive as part of the purchase process.
Clearing an Easement
There are several ways to clear or cancel an easement:
- Some easements may be written for a specific period of time. For example, if your neighbor is doing major construction on his property, an easement may be granted allowing machinery to cross your property only for the duration of the construction. The easement ceases when the construction ends.
- An easement may end if the owner of the dominant estate purchases the servient estate.
- The owner of the servient estate can also release the easement in writing
- In certain circumstances, abandonment may cancel the easement
If you own a piece of real estate that has an easement, talk to your real estate lawyer to learn more about what steps you can take to get the easement cancelled.
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