Have you ever used an easement without realizing it? Even if you say no, most likely you have! Typically, many people use easements, because they are there. And while it is almost always legal, there are times when it actually isn’t.
There are a couple types of easements, but the looks of those easements don’t always appear the same. Sometimes, an easement is a driveway across one property that connects another property to a public road. Other times, the easement may include underground pipes across properties that connect to municipal systems.
At some point, there is usually a disagreement about an easement between property owners. Or a property owner gets upset when a housing developer shows up and starts tearing up the front or back yard to build a new road to a subdivision. This last scenario almost always includes lawyers going back and forth, as to whether the easement is still valid or if it was terminated and the developer has no legal right to use the land.
Common Reasons for Terminating an Easement
There are so many reasons why an easement may be terminated. However, the most common ones include:
Impossibility of Purpose
There is a specific purpose for most easements. Therefore, if the specific purpose is no longer required or needed, there is an assumption that all the parties involved meant for the easement to expire when the purpose ceased to exist.
Elimination of Necessity
There are many times when an easement is created out of necessity. If a landowner has no other option for reaching their land, other than utilizing an easement, there is no choice but to have an easement in place for the foreseeable future. However, over time, other options may be created to access the land and the easement is no longer deemed a necessity. Oftentimes, this happens when a new road is built.
Once the easement is no longer necessary, it can be terminated.
When easements are created, there are two different owners of two properties. If a merger takes place, and one owner purchases the other piece of property, there is no longer a need for an easement. In that scenario, the easement is terminated.
When a landowner no longer has interest in their property, the easement used to reach that piece of land may no longer be necessary. This is a tricky termination though because there is a chance the property could be sold at a later time and the easement would be necessary once again. However, the owner of the property the easement is on may receive permission from the other owner to remove an easement like a paved driveway. If that happens, the easement would be terminated in the future.
Adverse possession takes time, but it is a potential option for easement termination. If you have an easement on your property and choose to block it off for twenty years without complaints from the person needing the easement, the termination process is complete.
The government can choose to terminate an easement through eminent domain. In this scenario, the government is forcing owners to sell part of their property.
Express Terms of the Specific Easement
One of the easiest ways to terminate an easement is by having a written document that a termination must take place at a certain time or within a specific scenario.
Are you looking to terminate an easement? Do you need to know what options you have pertaining to an easement on your property or one you use? Contact me today to talk about your legal options and see how I can help.