If you own property in Georgia, you may have heard of easements. Especially if you are in an area of rapid growth. You may know that the government can access your land, for example, to install or maintain waterlines, or that someone whose parcel is landlocked, can be granted an easement for ingress and egress. We will discuss how easements are created in another blog post, but have you ever wondered how long an easement lasts?
In today’s post we will look at how easements are terminated.
What is an easement?
Before we discuss how easements are terminated, we need to make sure we understand what they are.
Broadly speaking, an easement gives someone the right to use another person’s property in a particular way.
An easement does not confer an ownership interest in the property. Instead, it gives the holder of the easement the legal right to use another’s property. You may be most familiar with easements when it comes to the utility company.
The holder of the easement (for example, the utility company) has the right to access your property (which you continue to own) for the purpose of placing and maintaining utility wires, power lines, poles, etc.
How are easements terminated?
Easements – which are a complicated area of property law – can be created in a number of different ways.
They can also be terminated in a number of ways.
Here are just some (there are others) of the ways in which an easement can be terminated.
Limited Purpose easement.
An easement that is created for a limited purpose or for a specific period of time, will expire when the purpose is fulfilled, or the specific time period lapses. For example, a construction easement will generally terminate when the construction is completed.
Agreement and Release
If both the landowner and the holder of the easement agree to end the easement, they can execute a writing in which the easement holder releases all easement rights.
End of Necessity
Easements that are created because of a necessity end when the necessity ends.
The most common example of this is a landlocked parcel. For example, if an easement was created in Blackacre because Whiteacre was landlocked, the easement across Blackacre will terminate if a new means of access to Whiteacre becomes available.
Easements can be terminated by abandonment. However, for an easement to be considered abandoned, there must be evidence of more than mere non-use of the easement. There must be sufficient proof of the easement holder’s intent to abandon the easement and there must be proof of an overt act or failure to act, establishing that the easement holder no longer claims any interest in the easement.
Understanding the law as it pertains to the creation and termination of easements is critical if you are a property owner in Georgia. But this is a complex and often confusing area of law. If you need more information or have questions, consult with experienced real property counsel.
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At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C., our clients benefit from our experience. We have extensive experience in real estate law. We have offices in Cumming, and we serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To find out what we can do for you, call us today at: 770-888-7707. Or you can e-mail us with inquiries at: email@example.com