Legal Counsel for Landowners, Utilities, Businesses, Private Easement Owners, and Property Owners
We help draft, negotiate, and litigate easement issues for individuals and businesses.
Easements give a property owner the legal right to use the property or part of the property of another for some specific purpose. The terms of the easement normally appear in a deed or in a separate legal document, though some easements are not in writing. A title company or lawyer makes it a practice to search for easements in every buy-and-sell transaction. In many cases, there is no objection or dispute over the existence or use of an easement. The key is for the landowner to be aware of its existence.
Disputes and claims for easements can arise, often with neighboring property owners, about whether an easement does exist, when it can be exercised, and what kind of access the entity that owns the easement is entitled to. At Gertsburg Licata, our easement attorneys protect property owners and easement owners so that the existence of the easement is clear and understood. When necessary, we assert or contest easements, depending on the nature of the claim.
Types of easements
Generally, an easement is unique to a specific piece of property. As the property changes ownership, the easement continues. Other easements can end when ownership of the property ends. A license may provide a temporary solution. Some of the common kinds of easement issues our lawyers handle are:
- Utility easements. Most deeds give local electrical, water, and other utilities the right to enter a property to make repairs or changes to the apparatus, such as wires and cables. Utility easements are generally for the advantage of the property owner, so they are not usually contested. Property owners should be aware of the easements before they make any changes to the property that could prevent access. We help utility companies that need access to new or old properties obtain the necessary easements to be able to serve the landowner and the community.
- Private easements. Property owners can give an entity a right to use their property for a specific purpose in return for compensation. The specific purpose can include the right to walk across the property, the right to land around and air above the property, and the right to build waterways or sewers. Our attorneys help businesses and individuals obtain easements that allow for access for private purposes. We prepare the correct legal documents and research whether prior easements exist.
- Express and implied easements. Express easements can be found in deeds, in subdivision plans, or in the bylaws of a property association. Implied easements reflect current and prior use of the property. The precise terms of a private easement are generally decided through the drafting of contracts or by the courts pursuant to litigation. Some government entities have implied easements by virtue of the authority or responsibility given to them by state or local law.
- Easements by necessity. Sometimes, the courts grant an easement because it is essential to use the land for a legitimate purpose. For example, if a property owner has no way to get to the public roads without using the property of another, an easement by necessity may be granted to the landlocked property owner.
- Easement by prior use. Prior use of the property may create an easement. The factors used to create this type of easement are:
- The property was commonly owned at one time and now the interests have been severed
- Access to the land was created before the property was severed and access was used after the severance
- There was notice to the landowner by the person or entity seeking the easement of the access
- Access is necessary and beneficial
Other types of easements we help clients assert or defend include prescriptive easements, which are similar but not identical to adverse possession, easements by estoppel which are based on a material misrepresentation, and government easements acquired through eminent domain.
Get help with your easement issue
Our lawyers represent property owners and businesses that are seeking to have an easement enforced. We also represent easement owners in claims for damages because the property owner failed to respect the easement. Our lawyers understand when contract law applies and when property law is the controlling legal factor. If you need access to the property of another or someone is denying your easement, please contact us at (216) 573-6000 or complete our contact form to schedule an appointment.