I thought this was going to be such an easy topic to blog on. I guess in most cases it is. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of easements there are? I had no idea! So I think the best thing to do is look at the most common types of easements according to Home Inspectors Huntley IL.
Wikipedia defines an easement as such: An easement is the right to use the real property of another without possessing it. Easements are helpful for providing pathways across two or more pieces of property or allowing an individual to fish in a privately owned pond. An easement is considered as a property right in itself at common law and is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions.
That is the general gist, but that definition goes on for days! They go on to talk about express easements, implied easements, easements by prior use, and my favorite, easements by estoppel. These are all very specific types of easements which most of us may not ever come across, but if you do, you may want to include your lawyer!
The most common easements most people will be exposed to are utility easements. Utility easements are strips of land used by utility companies to construct and maintain overhead electric, telephone and cable television lines and underground electric, water, and sewer, telephone, and cable television lines. The property owner owns the land but the utility companies have been granted the right to access that portion of land that has been designated as a utility easement.
Utility easements are normally created during the planning phases for a new development.
The most important thing to remember about a utility easement is the utility companies have a right to access the property at any time to perform repairs or upgrades. Anything you have placed within the boundaries of the easement may be removed to gain access to make the repair. Local guidelines are in place to give more clarification on what may or may not be allowed to be placed in a utility easement, and what the utility company is responsible to replace if they have a need to access the land.
My advice would be to look at your plat of survey and determine where any easements are located. Check with your local authorities before placing anything inside the boundaries of any easement to determine what the utility company will be responsible to replace should they need to access the easement. Many times you can plant landscaping or put up fences but it may be your responsibility to replace them after the work is all done.
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