What Qualifies as a Real Estate Easement Dispute?


A real estate easement is a legal right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose. It is a common arrangement in real estate transactions, allowing individuals and businesses to use another’s land without owning it. However, these agreements are not always without conflict. A real estate easement dispute can arise when there is a disagreement between the parties involved about the scope or terms of the easement.

Common Types of Real Estate Easements

First, it is important to understand the different types of easements that can exist on a property. There are two common types of easements: easements appurtenant and easements in gross.

Easements appurtenant are attached to the property and benefit the owner or user of the adjoining property. For example, a driveway that crosses over a neighboring property to access one’s own property is an easement appurtenant.

Easements in gross, on the other hand, are not attached to a specific property but rather a person or entity. An example of an easement in gross would be a utility company’s right to access and maintain power lines on a property.


Potential Easement Disputes

With these types of easements in mind, let’s explore some situations that may qualify as a real estate easement dispute. One common scenario is when there is a disagreement over the scope of the easement. For example, suppose a property owner has an easement appurtenant to use a neighboring property’s driveway for access. Still, the neighboring property owner begins to restrict access by parking vehicles or placing obstructions in the driveway, preventing the easement holder from using it fully. This situation may result in a real estate easement dispute, as the easement holder believes the neighboring property owner is violating the terms of the easement by limiting access.

Another example of an easement dispute is when there is a disagreement about the terms of the easement. For instance, a property owner may grant an easement to a utility company to install and maintain power lines on their property. However, the easement may include specific limitations, such as the right to enter the property only during certain hours or with prior notice. If the utility company begins entering the property outside of the agreed-upon terms or without proper notice, the property owner may consider this a violation of the easement terms, resulting in a dispute.

Additionally, a real estate easement dispute may arise when there is a disagreement about the existence or validity of the easement itself. A property owner may claim they were not aware of an easement appurtenant on their property when they purchased it and, therefore, believe the easement is invalid. In contrast, the easement holder may argue that the easement was recorded in the property’s title and therefore enforceable. This type of dispute may require legal action to determine the validity of the easement.

It is worth noting that some easement disputes may result from a lack of communication or understanding between the parties involved. Easement disputes often arise when a property owner grants an easement to a neighbor for access to their property without specifying the terms or scope of the easement fully. Later, the neighbor may begin using the easement in a way that the property owner did not intend, resulting in a dispute. In such cases, a mediator or attorney may be able to assist in resolving the dispute by clarifying the terms of the easement and ensuring that both parties are aware of their respective rights and responsibilities.


Find an Attorney for a Real Estate Easement Dispute

Real estate easement disputes can be complex and may require legal action to resolve fully. It is crucial for both parties involved to understand their respective rights and responsibilities and seek the advice of an attorney with experience in this area.

Get in touch with the McGonigle Law team if you have any questions about your specific situation.


The information contained herein is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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