What is an Easement

The term “easement” is a non-possessory right to use or enter the property of another person without actually possessing it. It's basically the right-of-way for a landowner or neighboring landowner.

The most common type of easement is providing a road or pathway across two or more pieces of property to allow an individual to access their own property or public land. For instance, if one particular property is landlocked within the confines of another person's property and the only way to access it is through an easement road across the first landowners property, this would be considerably for by law according to one of the four types of easements: right-of-way, easements of support pertaining to excavations, easements of light and air or rights pertaining to artificial waterways. (While these are the most common types of easements, many are calculated on a case-by-case basis to the court of law and the legal description or warranty deed of the property.)

If you are considering buying a home in Portland that currently has an easement, either yours or someone else's, it's important to understand the regulations and requirements associated with that easement.

An easement can benefit a property. Let's say that someone owns a tract of land that borders the national forests. This might be a popular area for hiking, biking, climbing or fishing and to avoid trespassing, the owner may allow access to the forest by a walking or driving path to a public entry point across their property.

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It can also be a benefit to an individual or a business entity such as a landowner granting an easement so that other owners could use a neighbor's land to access a public area.

Easements can give utility companies the right to erect power-lines or natural gas pipeline across a tract of land or a housing development might possess an easement that allows it to build and maintain a water storage facility. However, all of these types of easements must be included in a deed description and remain in place if the land is sold.

An easement will affect the person who grants the easement in that they cannot build any structures within an easement area or use fencing that would hinder access. Before you purchase any property that has an easement is important to understand where the easements are located and what restrictions you may have.

Easements can affect property values in that it might seriously limit the choice for building or fences. Buyer may also just not like the idea of sharing their property.

Easements don’t have to be a hindrance to buying or selling a property but they are an important part of the process that you need to understand. Know your rights and what effect you could have on the easement. It may alter your decision.

Have questions on an easement before you sell? Give me a call. Have questions on buying a particular piece of land in Portland or Vancouver with an easement? Let's discuss.

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