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Options for resolving real estate easement disputes

A real estate easement gives another party the right to use parts of your land for different purposes. You will usually find an easement detailed in the property deed, but it’s also sometimes stated in a separate document. There are other ways a company or individual might gain the right to an easement, such as referencing the law or using land over a long period of time. For property owners, this issue can be a nightmare.

Property disputes happen when an owner disagrees with an easement. This type of dispute is not uncommon, since an easement can affect property rights and value. There are a couple ways to settle a property easement dispute, such as:

  • Evaluating your property rights. The first thing a property owner should do is perform a full title search. You can do this by either hiring a title search company or browsing the internet yourself. Valid easements are recorded, so any existing easements should show up in your search. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some easements are gained through adverse possession, which will not appear in records.
  • Meeting with the other party. After your title search, you may want to move forward in the dispute. Attempt to negotiate with the other party. While most of your interactions are best done in writing, a face-to-face meeting is preferable at times. The main goal of the meeting is to settle the situation.
  • Using alternative methods. Parties are not always able to resolve disputes alone. At this point, you may want to discuss alternate dispute resolution (ADR). This is a good option if you’re holding back on filing a lawsuit. You have the option between mediation or arbitration.

Each situation is unique. The dispute options above don’t always work with each case. If the other alternatives are exhausted, your next step might be to file a lawsuit.