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Understanding easement as a first-time homeowner

On Behalf of | May 11, 2023 | Real Estate Law

Buying your first house is an exciting achievement. Your mind starts to wonder what couch would go well in the living room and what flowers you should plant in your garden. But wait – how come the neighbor uses your driveway to go to their house? Did he say ‘easement’? What is that?

Easement and its types

Owning a property comes with the necessity to understand real estate concepts. And one of the concepts you would come across is an easement. An easement is a scenario wherein a party, whether an individual, a company or the government, legally uses the private property of another through an agreement.

There are different types of easements, depending on the parties and the use of the property. Some of the most common types of easements are the following:

  • Utility easement: This refers to an agreement wherein a property owner allows a utility company to run utilities through their property, such as power lines and water pipes.
  • Private easement: This type of agreement is between two private parties, with one allowing the other to use a part of their property for the other’s personal use. An example would be using another’s land for planting crops.
  • Easement by necessity: Unlike the others, this type of agreement does not usually need a written contract because the situation gives rise to the need for another to use someone else’s property. A good example would be the one mentioned above – using another’s driveway to get into their own property.

What does the owner get from the agreement? Usually, the property owner grants the use of the property in exchange for a fee. Moreover, there is a limit to the use to protect the property owner’s rights and avoid damage.

Buyer rights

It is understandable for first-time owners to feel confused with certain real estate concepts. Generally, real estate agents will walk you through these concepts. Doing your research and preparing questions beforehand can also be helpful. Note that the seller must disclose any existing easements before you purchase the property.