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          An easement is a limited interest in someone's land.  A person who has an easement, does not actually own a part of the other person's land.  He or she simply possesses a right to do something on the land of that person.  The most common example of an easement is a person's right to drive through the land of a neighbor to access their own property.  A person can also have an easement to run utilities across the property of a neighbor, or livestock grazing rights on the property of a neighbor.  A person may have a view easement which prevents their neighbor from growing trees that block their view, or building a structure that is so tall that it blocks a view.  The law recognizes many other different types of easements.
          An easement can be for a limited duration, or it can be permanent. What you may be allowed to do on an easement may be broad or very limited. Under the right conditions, an easement can be sold with your property, or you may purchase an easement on, under, over or across another person's property when you purchase your property.
          An easement can be created by the agreement of two or more parties.  For example, you may ask your neighbor for an easement to drive across his property to access your home.  People will sometimes purchase an easement from another.  When your neighbor agrees to grant you an easement (whether for a price or without charge) you would normally want to record an "easement deed" to "perfect" the easement.
          An easement can also be created when there is no agreement.  Using the roadway easement example, an easement by prescription is created when you drive across your neighbor's property continuously for a period of five or more years, and you do so in a manner that is hostile, adverse (in other words, without permission) and clearly visible to your neighbor.  When a person can establish that each of these factors, he may or may not be able to prevail on a claim that he possesses a "prescriptive easement"..
          People are sometimes able to acquire an "easement by necessity"..  To use the road example again, a person may be able to obtain a court order that they possess an easement across the property of another when there is literally no other way to access one's property.
People are often forced to file lawsuits to protect an easement that they believe they possess.  Other times, a property owner may need to file a lawsuit because an easement owner is abusing his easement rights and causing damage to the property owner's land.  Occasionally, a person will be forced to file a lawsuit to "perfect" a prescriptive easement because he has exercised a right for many years on the land of another, and then that property owner prohibits or blocks the activity. Richert Law Group can handle each of the situations.  If you need assistance in negotiating the purchase or sale of an easement, Mr. Richert can help.
          Each of the explanations above is offered in very simplistic terms.  Easement law is actually complex and the facts of each case are very important to a determination of the outcome.  If you have any questions about whether you possess an easement on another person's property, or if they possess an easement on your property, you should contact Richert Law Group.

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Richert Law Group
505 Coyote St., Suite A
Nevada City, CA 95959
Tel: (530) 265-7800
Fax: (530) 478-0634