Los Angeles Easement Dispute Attorney
Providing Real Estate Legal Services in Greater Los Angeles Since 1978
An easement gives another party besides the property owner the right to access real property with narrow usage. There are various reasons for property easements, such as granting access to public property only accessible via a road on private property.
According to California Civil Code Section 887.010, an easement is:
a burden or servitude upon land, whether or not attached to other land as an incident or appurtenance, that allows the holder of the burden or servitude to do acts upon the land.
An example of this would be a road or trail providing access to:
• A primary road
• A lake, ocean, or public body of water
• A public landmark
There are two categories of easements, dominant and servient estate.
• A dominant estate benefits from the easement.
• A servient estate bears the burden of the easement.
Types of Easements
Understanding the types of easements is a good start to solving a property dispute. Each type of easement creates rules governing access to a servient estate.
Easements are usually one of two types:
- Easement Appurtenant: An easement appurtenant requires that the easement remain attached to the land when either the dominant or servient estates are sold. Typically, these types of easements are attached to a property so that the dominant estate can access specific property on the servient estate. The accessible property on the servient estate is often adjacent to the dominant property.
- Easement In Gross: An easement in gross gives the right of access to a property to a person or business entity. This type of easement is different because it is attached to a person or business instead of to a specific property. An example of this type of easement exists between a homeowner and a public utility.
How Easements are Established
How an easement becomes attached to a piece of real estate? Easements can be created, according to California real estate law, in four ways:
- By Necessity: An easement can be determined to be necessary for access to land. A form of an implied grant, an easement of necessity easement is attached to the land for a reason for the easement. For example, a landlocked parcel of divided land could have an easement attached to provide access to a public road.
- Prescriptive: A prescriptive easement is a form of an implied grant that can be given if, after five years of unpermitted and obvious use of private property, the ungranted user files a petition or lawsuit in civil court. Prescriptive easements are not granted with the consent of the property owner.
- Express Grant: An express grant easement is express or created by words. These words are usually in the form of a contract or a property deed. The property owner consents to an express grant easement by creating narrow usage rules to their private property.
- Implied Grant: Unlike its express grant counterpart, the implied grant easement is created by law to correct an intention to create an easement when it was not executed, written, or spoken. Implied grant easements are typically found when a large parcel of land is divided into multiple smaller lots, but an area on another lot needs to be accessed by the others. If it wasn’t noted in deeds or recorded documents, it could be viewed as legally implied.
Contact a Los Angeles Easement Dispute Attorney
If you are preparing to purchase real estate, easements are important considerations you need to account for before finalizing your buyer’s contract or depositing money into an escrow account. Easement laws can be complex and may require varying amounts of research to understand the landowner and authorized user’s rights. Securing the services of a real estate litigation attorney can provide insight into the details of your situation. An attorney can review your land title and any associated easement documentation before developing a strategy to resolve any easement disputes.
Call our offices at (888) 577-1518 to schedule a free telephonic consultation.