Understand A Property’s Easements Before Purchasing

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2020 | Real estate law |

You have shopped around Boise’s available commercial real estate for weeks, searching for that perfect piece of real estate to help you realize your dream. The search has been tough, but you are ready to make an offer on a parcel of land — only the inspection remains.

During the inspection process, some buyers forget to ask about any easements against the property. These legal orders determine how neighboring property owners and the surrounding community interact with this parcel. Buyers who understand how easements work will be better suited to negotiate the price.

The most common easements

Easements are legal situations that allow access to a parcel of land by people other than the owner. Easements stem from legal arrangements surrounding the sale of a parcel of land or after years of continued use. A common easement would allow a neighbor to use your driveway if they needed it to access their land. Utility companies also hold easements against nearly every property in their service area to allow unfettered access.

The four most common types of easements are:

  • Necessary: Court orders dictate easements by necessity when another party requires access to your property. These easements create rules for the use of shared driveways.
  • Prescriptive: Courts grant prescriptive easements when another party has used land they did not own for a number of years without interruption or objection. To secure a prescriptive easement in Idaho, a claimant must prove “open, notorious, continuous, and uninterrupted use” for five years. Courts grant these when farmers cultivate parcels of land on neighboring properties.
  • By condemnation: Easements by condemnation are rarely welcome by property owners, but may present a lucrative opportunity. Courts grant these easements for parcels of land required for the “public good,” like constructing new roadways or utilities. Some easements by condemnation concern nature preservation.
  • Party: These easements stem from two parties agreeing to share a property amenity or feature. Shared walls, parking lots, trash areas, water features, or natural areas often concern party easements.

A lawyer understands the details of easements

Before purchasing a property with an easement, buyers have more success working with a Boise law firm familiar with real estate law. A lawyer can examine the legal terminology behind any easements, negotiate fair terms and even fight against unjust easements in court.