Neighbor easement problems? Everything you need to know

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

There are two main types of easements that impact residential homeowners: utility easements and prescriptive easements. As mentioned above, a utility easement allows employees access to your property in order to maintain utility lines or underground utility pipes. This can sometimes limit the location of structures you can build upon your property. 

Prescriptive easements are the type of easement that plagues homeowners most often. If a business or individual has been using your property in a certain way for the past ten years, they might have a prescription easement. This means that they are granted the right to drive their vehicles across the same route they’ve used, however they cannot expand the easement nor can they claim ownership interest in your land. 

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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Anthony Law Group