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  • Easement Issues

  • A person or government who holds the legal right to use a certain portion of the land of another in a particular way, is said to hold an easement. For example, a neighboring property owner can own or obtain the right to use the land of another for a vehicle driveway, as an actual interest in land. A government can own or obtain the right to use the land of another for drainage or other purposes. An easement holder will have specific defined limits on the use of the land of another. The need to enforce the rights to an easement, or to compel an easement holder to act within the limits of a given easement ­ can be handled by an attorney who is experienced in this area.

    In addition, a "prescriptive easement" may be established if a person uses the land of another for a period of five years, in a way that "hostile" or adverse to the interests of the underlying landowner, open and obvious, with an actual use of the land. If permission is given to the person using the land of another, a prescriptive easement cannot be established ­ contrary to the thinking of many. However, you cannot establish a prescriptive easement on government property.

    DAMAGE BY EASEMENT HOLDER: Furthermore, if the easement holder uses their easement in a way that substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of the underlying landowner (beyond that prescribed in the easement), they can be found liable in nuisance or trespass, including any property damage. The easement holder can also be held liable in negligence.