What Is an Easement in Construction?

January 30, 2024

Navigating the construction industry is not just about technical expertise; it’s also about understanding the legalities involved. One such consideration is working with easements. An easement is a non-possessory property right that gives the holder the permission to use another person’s land for a limited purpose. However, the legal title of the land remains with the owner.

The most common types of easements are affirmative and involve allowing access to utilities, such as gas or electric lines. However, there are also negative easements, such as preserving views or protecting a watershed, that limit what can be done on the property. An easement must be created by a deed and be recorded with the county clerk’s office or register of deeds. It cannot be implied by trespassing or other means.

Easements can significantly impact the scope of a construction project, including limits on height, materials, and footprint. Moreover, failure to understand and comply with an existing easement can lead to costly legal disputes and construction delays.

When working with easements, contractors should ensure they have adequate insurance coverage to cover any damages caused to the property during construction. They should clearly mark the area of work, and set up barriers to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the property. They should also address any damage quickly and take steps to compensate the landowner for any losses. This can help avoid legal disputes and unnecessary expenses and ensure that projects are completed within budget.

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