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Easements and the problems they hold

When buying a plot of land, whether 6,000 square feet or 200 acres, easements may be a part of the property. An easement agreement between two parties permits one party to use another person or company’s property for a specific person.

However, if you or your title company does not do its due diligence, you may miss an easement that could mess up the plans for your dream home.

Easement categories and creation

Two categories of easements exist in Delaware—gross and appurtenant. An easement in gross benefits an individual or entity, and the person or business cannot transfer the easement through a sale or inheritance. This would void the easement.

An appurtenant easement requires two tracts of land, one that is dominant and the other servient. The owner of the dominant land gives permission to use his or her land to the owner of the servient property. For example, one owner gives the other individual use of a piece of land to access a residence.

Under these two categories are three types of easement creations. These are:

  • Express easements
  • Easement by prescription
  • Easement by necessity

Easement problems

Unfortunately, these two easements can create problems for both parties. Issues surrounding easements may include:

  • Encroachments
  • Misuse
  • Interference with use
  • Abandonment

For encroachment violations concerning livestock, Delaware states the owner of the animals may be liable for double damages.

The title company can find easements written into the property deed recorded with the county clerk keeps. You can do your due diligence by going to the county clerk’s office yourself to find the information you need.

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