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If you buy a property with an easement, do you have to honor it?

| Nov 4, 2021 | Real Estate Law |

You’re looking to buy a property, and it has an easement. Perhaps there’s a house behind it, and the neighbor has been using the same driveway for years. They got an easement from the current neighbor to allow them to do so, and it just permits them to cross that property while driving to their own house. 

If you buy it, though, you don’t want anyone else on your property. You didn’t agree to the easement, after all. Do you have to honor it, or do things change when the land itself switches to a new owner?

Generally, the easement has to stay

The rule of thumb is that you do have to honor the easement. It is less of an agreement between two owners and more of an alteration in how a specific plot of land can be used. The easement, then, stays with the property. You may be the new owner, but you don’t have any say in the matter. 

Think of it this way: The easement is an inherent part of the land, and you’re buying the land. You’re also buying the easement. You agree to take it on when you make the purchase. That’s why you cannot change it without the consent of the other party. 

Easements often lower the value of the land they’re on properties for this specific reason. The seller has to tell you that the easement exists before they sell you the property. If you still agree to buy, you also have to honor that prior agreement. 

Disputes over issues like this can grow complex, and it may be wise to carefully consider all of your legal options