An easement gives a person or an organization a legal right to access land—but only for a specific purpose. For example, a utility company might have an easement on a property in order to gain access to water and sewer lines.
Based on a recent article from Zillow, we answer some key questions about easements below, and explain how one may impact your flip:
Does your potential flip property have an easement?
You’ve got your eye on a property and you plan to make an offer. But how do you know if it has an easement?
You shouldn’t have to wonder for long. During the sale of a property, sellers are legally obligated to disclose easements attached to their properties. Therefore, you should be made aware of an easement by the time you have a purchase agreement, or sooner. If you’re buying a bank-owned property that’s being sold in as-is condition, however, you should do some research. Your agent can help you determine if there’s a reason to suspect that your property of interest might have an easement. You can also contact your local municipality to determine if an easement exists, and what kind—some easements remain after you purchase a property, others do not.
What types of easements exist?
There are many kinds of easements, and the property rights afforded by them are contingent on the type of easement.
Appurtenant vs. gross easements. An appurtenant easement is one that permits a property owner to access land that’s only reachable through a neighbor’s property. This type of easement is beneficial to one parcel of land (referred to as the dominant tenement), and is often to the detriment of another parcel of land (considered to be the servient tenement). An easement in gross is beneficial to an entity or an individual, whether they are a utility company, a neighbor, organization, or other entity.
Public vs. private easements. Both gross and appurtenant easements could permit access to either public or private entities or properties. For example, a private easement could allow a neighbor to access a property, while a public easement might permit any member of the general public to pass through a property.