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About Property Easements

THE BURDEN ON THE PROPERTY OWNER

Regardless of the type of easement, property values could suffer because of the potential for unsightliness and inconvenience. In addition, easements don’t typically come with expiration dates, so even as a new owner of a property you’re still inheriting the previous owner’s responsibility to observe the easement holder’s rights and privileges. It’s also important to note that no matter the percentage of land under an easement, property owners are still obligated to pay taxes on the entire parcel.

HOW TO FIND EASEMENT INFORMATION ON A PROPERTY

Given the potential headache an easement can become, it’s crucial that you’re fully aware of any restrictions and requirements tied to a property before proceeding with a sale. Thankfully, there are several options available to you in order to determine the number and type of existing easements.

If you are purchasing a home, typically you would obtain title insurance along with that purchase. As part of the title insurance process, a title company conducts a search to ensure that the title is legitimate and will also generate a report that details any and all issues associated with the property, including easements, outstanding mortgages, liens, judgments or unpaid taxes.

If there is a suspected issue concerning easements on your property you can hire a title insurance company, or private title searcher, to perform a search for easements on the property in question. Depending on the complexity of the search, they may charge a fee for their services, but a good title company will provide you with a comprehensive report.

The deed to the property is another source of information and will have the easements listed and defined as part of its legal description. If a copy of the deed isn’t readily accessible you can obtain one from the county clerk or recorder. Be sure to have the address, parcel number, and current property owner’s name when making the request.

Similarly, the county or city zoning/mapping department is often in charge of keeping records of surveys and plot maps. These documents will contain information on a specific property’s easements, including the exact measurements of the portion of the property considered the easement.