Neighbor Easement Problems? Everything You Need to Know

Resolving Property Disputes

My Neighbor is Claiming That He Has an Easement That Crosses Over My Property

Most property owners believe that they can use their land for anything they would like as long it is within the bounds of the law. One important potential exception is an easement. Whether the easement is from a residential neighbor or a commercial one, there are certain things to be aware of before making a purchase or filing a legal complaint in Arizona. 

What are easements? 

Before we can talk about what easements mean for your property, it’s important to understand the basic concept. An easement grants an entity or a person the right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. If your property blocks or otherwise interferes with a busy road, for example, there might be an easement in place to allow traffic to pass through safely. Another example includes a utility company with an easement that enables them to access electrical poles on your property. 

Easements are the root of many disagreements between neighbors, and for understandable reasons. While the property owner has the right to enjoy their property regardless of the presence of an easement, in practice that enjoyment could be significantly limited based on what the easement entails. It is important to note that you cannot interfere with an easement’s function, so if the easement consists of moving traffic crossing your property, for example, you might find your ability to spend time outside difficult. 

Types of Easements

In Arizona, as in most jurisdictions, property easements grant specific rights to individuals or entities to use a portion of another person’s property for a particular purpose. There are several types of property easements recognized under Arizona law:

  1. Easement Appurtenant: This type of easement benefits a specific property, rather than an individual. It involves two adjacent parcels of land, one of which enjoys the easement for a particular purpose on the neighboring property. For example, a property might have a right-of-way easement allowing the owner to access their land through a neighbor’s property.
  1. Easement in Gross: This type of easement benefits an individual or entity rather than a specific property. It does not require adjacent properties. An example of this could be a utility company having an easement to install and maintain power lines or pipelines across a specific parcel of land.
  1. Prescriptive Easement: This type of easement is acquired through continuous and uninterrupted use of another person’s property for a specific period of time (typically around 10 years). If someone openly and without permission uses a portion of another person’s land for a certain period and meets the legal requirements, they might acquire a prescriptive easement.
  1. Easement by Necessity: This type of easement is created when one parcel of land is effectively landlocked and requires access across another property for basic use and enjoyment. It’s often established when a property is subdivided, and one portion is left without direct access to a public road.
  1. Easement by Prior Use: This is an easement that arises when a property is subdivided, and a particular portion of the land is used for the benefit of another portion before the division. If the use continues after the subdivision, the easement can persist.
  1. Conservation Easement: This type of easement is typically granted to a government agency or a nonprofit organization to protect natural resources, wildlife habitats, or open spaces on a property. The property owner retains ownership but agrees to certain restrictions on development or land use to preserve its ecological or scenic value.
  1. Agricultural Easement: Similar to conservation easements, agricultural easements aim to protect farmland from development. They are often used to ensure that land remains available for agricultural use, even as surrounding areas experience urbanization.
  1. Utility Easements: These easements allow utility companies to install and maintain utility lines, such as electricity, gas, water, and telecommunications, on private property. Property owners retain ownership but grant the utility companies the right to access and maintain the lines.


If your neighbor is claiming that he has an easement that crosses over your property, it’s important to determine the type of easement and whether or not it is valid. The most reliable way to do this is by consulting with an Arizona real estate attorney who can review the property deed and local easement law to help you make an informed decision. If the easement is valid, it’s important to understand your rights and obligations in order to ensure that your neighbor does not take unfair advantage of the situation.

What should I do if my neighbor claims they have an easement?

If your neighbor believes they have an easement that crosses onto your property, your first step should be to contact an attorney. It is important to do this as quickly as possible. Moving fast can sometimes allow you to interrupt the use of your property if it hasn’t been used for ten full years, and it is possible to miss that deadline entirely if you wait to act. 

An attorney experienced in local and state law can explore your options and take the next steps in your legal conflict. The team at Anthony Law Group can help. Reach out to us today.


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