An easement is the right to use another person’s property for a specified purpose. Easements do not involve transfer of ownership. The most common types of easements are ingress and egress easements, often referred to as “rights of way” across neighboring parcels of land.
The rights of an easement holder vary substantially depending on where a piece of property is located. However, all varieties of easements are based on these four original categories:
- Right-of-way (easements of way)
- Easements of support (pertaining to excavations)
- Easements of “light and air”
- Rights pertaining to artificial waterways
Easements are most often explicitly created in property documents. Under most circumstances, having a verbal conversation with another party is not sufficient. Courts have also recognized creation of easements in other ways:
- Express easement
- Implied easement
- Easement by necessity
- Easement by prior use
- Easement by prescription
- Easement by estoppel
- Easement by the government
Easement disputes often arise when one party disregards or fails to comply with the terms of the agreement. While disputes in express easements, which are created by written instruments, are easier to mediate; other types of easement disputes are more difficult to resolve. Prescriptive easements are created through a pattern of use and are granted after the person using the easement has used the property in a hostile, continuous and open manner for a specific number of years. Implied easements are not recorded or explicitly stated, but reflect the practices and customs of use for a property. Courts typically refer to the intent of the parties, as well as prior use, to determine the existence of an implied easement.
YOUR PARTNER IN EASEMENT DISPUTES AND LITIGATION
Dickson Law Group has over 45 years of combined experience serving Seattle and Tacoma clients in easement disputes and litigation. From large parcel owners, to developers, to homeowner associations, our team of litigators is ready to serve your legal needs.
Whether you are looking to enforce or defend against an easement, Dickson Law Group is here to help. If you need high quality, cost-effective service and innovative legal solutions in real estate, count on Dickson Law Group.
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