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Ending an easement in California

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Real Estate Law |

Whether you’re a property owner seeking to terminate an easement or a party benefiting from an easement who is concerned about the ramifications of the terms of an easement ending, it’s important to make informed decisions, as easements tend to be truly consequential arrangements.

Easements give someone the right to access and use someone else’s land for a set purpose. Easements can be terminated through various legal mechanisms, including:

  • Mutual Agreement: The parties involved can agree to terminate the easement through a written agreement. This requires the consent of both the servient (property burdened by the easement) and dominant (benefiting) parties.
  • Abandonment: An easement may be deemed abandoned if the dominant party ceases to use it for an extended period and exhibits actions indicating intent to relinquish the right.
  • Prescription: If the dominant party fails to use the easement continuously for a statutory period, typically five years, the servient owner may claim the easement has been extinguished through adverse possession.
  • Merger: A merger may extinguish the easement if the same person or entity acquires ownership of the dominant and servient properties.

Be sure to understand each method for terminating an easement to select the one that best suits your situation.

Legal procedures for ending an easement

To formally terminate an easement in California, you must follow a set legal procedure.

If both parties agree to terminate the easement, prepare a written agreement outlining the terms of termination, including any compensation or conditions. Once executed, record the termination agreement with the county recorder’s office. Do this in the same county where the property is located to notify future buyers or encumbrances.

If one party refuses to consent to termination, seek a court order through litigation—present evidence supporting the grounds for termination, such as abandonment or non-use.

Ending an easement in California requires compliance with state laws and careful consideration of legal options. Understanding the termination process is essential for property owners navigating real estate disputes, whether via mutual agreement or legal action.