Many easements in California exist due to a necessity or out of convenience for adjacent neighbors. When such land or property is sold with the easement, it often results in different issues between the new property owners and their neighbors. According to a survey by FindLaw.com, about 17% of real estate issues between neighbors involve property boundary issues. Disputes may arise from a neighbor who is trespassing or using your land without a proper easement.
If you're involved in a real estate dispute with your neighbor over an easement issue, consulting with a knowledgeable California real estate law attorney is important for proper guidance. For over four decades, I have been providing experienced legal guidance and reliable representation to clients in real estate legal matters, including boundary and easement dispute issues. I'm available to review your case and help you understand your possible legal options. As your legal counsel, I will fight diligently to protect your rights and craft an effective strategy to resolve any easement issues with your neighbor.
My firm – J. Eric LeVine, ESQ. – proudly serves clients in Laguna Hills, California, and the surrounding areas throughout Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties.
An easement can be described as a piece of land where a person, other than the landowner, has the legal right to use the land or property for a specific reason. The landowner or property owner still retains title to the property and remains the rightful owner. However, the easement holder is legally permitted to occupy or use the land or property for a particular purpose. In California, such land affected by the easement is known as a "servient estate."
The different types of easements on California properties can generally include:
An express easement is established when the property owner grants the easement, thereby permitting another person or entity to use their property. In California, you can create an express easement through a contract, grant, deed, or other signed written documents.
An easement by implication can arise when a property owner divides and transfers part of their property to someone else. The transferred portion may have an easement affecting the other lot if it is necessary for the reasonable use and enjoyment of the lot that was transferred.
A claim for a prescriptive easement requires open and continuous use of the land claimed to provide the easement for a minimum of five years without the express permission of the owner of that land. Prescriptive easements cannot be asserted against public land.
An easement by necessity may arise when the two parcels of property were previously owned by the same person and, after one is sold, there is an absolute necessity for an easement as to one of those parcels. This may occur when one of the properties becomes landlocked with no way to access it without the easement.
Easements are frequently used to protect and conserve natural resources and open-space areas. They may be acquired by governmental entities and tax-exempt nonprofit organizations formed for that purpose.
Some common reasons for boundary and easement issues include:
As a landowner, you are within your rights to keep strangers and unwanted intruders from entering upon and using your property. When this occurs without your permission, it is a trespass and may be addressed by way of legal action. A property owner should never ignore or otherwise fail to address repeated trespasses upon their property.
Interference occurs when another person's actions hinder the particular purpose for which the easement was granted. If a person interferes with the use of an easement, they may be held liable for any damages resulting from that interference. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to obtain a court order (an injunction) that such interference stop.
Easement disputes may arise between the landowner and city or municipality due to land-use and zoning regulations that hinder a property owner's rights from making use of their property.
Using the easement area for purposes beyond the defined or implied scope of that easement can be a subject of dispute.
Easement issues can be frustrating for the property owner. Here are some resolutions:
Have a one-on-one discussion with your neighbor to mutually resolve the disagreement or differences. If an agreement is reached, it is important that it be put in writing and signed.
Purchase the disputed section of the adjacent property outright. This will require what is called a lot line adjustment to be implemented and recorded with the county recorder.
Enter into a contract or agreement with the easement holder to modify or terminate the easement.
If none of this seems possible, pursue legal recourse through an attorney.
I have the resources and experience to guide and represent clients in easement disputes and real estate-related litigation issues. As your legal counsel, I will evaluate every detail of your case, help you understand your possible dispute resolution options, and decide the best approach to resolve your easement dispute. I will fight diligently to protect your rights and help resolve your property-related legal issues quickly and peacefully.
The information provided in this website is general in nature and is not intended to be relied upon as legal advice applicable to your specific situation. The ultimate outcome of any legal issue is dependent upon the specific facts surrounding that issue.
If you're involved in an easement dispute with your neighbor, contact my firm – J. Eric LeVine, ESQ. – today to schedule a simple case assessment. I can offer you the detailed legal guidance, support, and strong representation you need to successfully navigate your case. My firm is proud to serve clients in Laguna Hills, California, and throughout Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego Counties.