Last week we went over the topic of property easements for homeowners. This week we will continue on the subject and explore some common property easement situations that could restrict a homeowners rights.
Homes with easements and public property attached Waterfront property, like a beach house located on a public beach or perhaps a lake house with the only path to the lake can limit the homeowners’ rights. Putting up fences, adding new buildings on the property or anything that could result in access to the public property being blocked could be a big problem.
Because the property is attached to a public property, you cannot restrict others from it. If you happen to purchase a home and that home holds the only point of access to/from a public place, then you could not do anything to block public access.
If you did, you would be trespassing upon a right-of-way easement and it could even get the owner sued! This is why it is extremely important to know if your new potential home has any easements prior to signing the dotted line.
Renovations and expansions When a buyer purchases a property with the intent of building a new home on the land or expanding an existing home, it’s very important to know if the property has an easement or not. Why? Because your neighbors could own easements that restrict what you do with your property. One example is if a neighbor had an easement for their solar panels. If your building plans blocked these solar panels from receiving direct sunlight, you wouldn’t be able to build.
How to check if your property has an easement You can find out if your property has an easement by looking over your paperwork. Written easements are contained in deeds, individual documents, on plats, and in condominium and homeowner association documents.
Can you argue an easement? Homeowners can challenge an easement but often this means going to court. If you decide to challenge an existing easement it can go smoothly if the easement holder agrees to terminate their easement or if the easement has an expiration date. However, other types of easements like a “prescriptive easement” (also termed “squatter’s rights”) can be more difficult. These types of easements are not included in the title report making them difficult to spot prior to purchasing. To discover this type of easement a physical inspection of the property would likely uncover the neighbors “squatting”. If the neighbors have made major modifications on your property, speaking with a real estate attorney is a good idea.
Contact us here at Lendem Financial when it’s time to buy your next home. We can help homebuyers understand exactly what they are getting into before they sign any contracts.
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