You’re out shopping for property and may have just found your dream home when your Realtor® informs you that “the driveway easement to the street runs over the neighbor’s property over there.” Great! Huh? Is that a problem or what? In this case it’s not a problem at all. The copy of the title report that the listing agent provided confirms that the easement is included in the legal description and is therefore “ok”.
In our scenario the dream home property benefits from the easement over the abutting neighbor’s property. That same easement burdens the neighbor’s property.
So, what exactly is an easement? One definition that I like a lot is: “the right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose.”
The dream home property has an appurtenant easement over the neighbor’s property. Its owners and/or guests have the benefit of coming and going over the driveway area without needing permission from the neighbor to cross over their land. On the other hand the neighbor that is burdened by the easement must not impair or restrict the use of the easement area on their property.
If a piece of property does not abut or “touch” a public road it will be necessary to establish an easement over the parcel(s) of land that lie(s) between the nearest public road and the property. Without a valid easement a property owner may not have the legal right to go over their neighbor’s property and that could cause big problems down the road (pardon the pun). Without legal access a property is said to be landlocked or having lack of access.
Not to worry! Once you purchase your dream home you can rest assured that your Ticor Title policy insures that you the owner have access rights.