Easements

An easement is an interest in real estate. It gives one person the right to use another person’s land for an agreed upon purpose. Easements involve complex principles and those granting or receiving easements must be very careful in documenting the intentions of the parties. An easement may be created either by a grant (like a deed) or by operation of law. Easements by grant must be in writing. Easements by operation of law arise because of facts and circumstances indicating a supposed grant or reservation between the parties. There are “implied easements,” “easements by necessity,” “prescriptive easements” and easements created by condemnation. Analysis of these types of easements is beyond this piece, and the legal requirements for establishing such easements can be complex.

There are basically four ways that easements can be terminated. They can be terminated

  1. by merger (where the title of the easement grantee and grantor come together or merger);
  2. by agreement or release,
  3. by end of purpose or necessity i.e. the purpose of the easement comes to an end,
  4. by abandonment; however, in most instances mere non-use alone does not result in abandonment,
  5. foreclosure of a mortgage, where the mortgage has a priority (usually by recording the mortgage before recording the easement) and the easement grantee is joined as a defendant in the mortgage foreclosure, and
  6. by expiration if the easement was for a specified time limit.

Easements are centered on “use” rather than “ownership.” The landowner, or grantor of the easement, still owns the land subject to the easement. The grantee or holder of the easement grant is entitled to occupy the easement land only to the extent of the rights conveyed by the easement. When giving or receiving an easement, an experienced real estate attorney should be consulted and care must be taken to draft the documentation properly.

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Rulon D. Munns is a managing shareholder of Bogin, Munns, & Munns, P.A., a full service law firm with offices in Orlando, Clermont, Kissimmee, Daytona, Ocala, Melbourne, Gainesville, and Leesburg, Florida. He welcomes questions and comments regarding the above and can be reached at [email protected].

NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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