If you are fairly familiar with real estate terms you’ve probably heard of easements. But what is a “quasi-easement”?
An easement is a non-possessory property interest in land that allows the person holding the easement to use another’s property for his own benefit. An easement confers upon the easement holder some right, benefit, dominion, or lawful use out of, or over, the estate of another. It allows the easement holder to use property that he does not own or possess. But it does not allow him to occupy the land or exclude others from it unless they interfere with his easement.
For example, an easement for ingress or egress gives a person a right-of-way across another’s property (often a driveway or road) to get to his own property. This means that the person holding the easement can use the road to get to his land, but cannot stop others from using the road, unless their use interferes with his use of the road.
Because easements are considered to be interests in land, they are created with the same formality as other interests in land. In other words, they are usually created by a grant deed that is recorded in the county where the property lies.
In Georgia, a quasi-easement is an easement that is implied from a prior or existing use of property. A quasi-easement arises when the owner of an entire tract uses one part of it for the benefit of another and then the tract is divided, separating the benefitted parcel —the “quasi-dominant estate”—from the burdened parcel, the “quasi-servient estate.”
Put more simply, a quasi- easement arises one person owns a track of land and he uses one part of his land to benefit another part. For example, if a farmer uses a road on his land continuously for years to access a back portion of the land, if he conveys away the back portion of the land which has been benefited by the use of the road, an easement for the use of the road will be implied in favor of the grantee.
The requirements to prove a quasi-easement vary by state, but generally speaking, to establish a quasi-easement, one must show that:
(1) a separation of title from common ownership occurred;
(2) use of the property prior to the separation of title was so long continued and obvious that it must have been intended to be permanent; and
(3) use of the claimed easement was highly convenient and beneficial to the land conveyed.
There is a lot more to know about easements and quasi-easements, so be sure to consult with experienced real estate counsel if you have questions about easements.
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