Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan
Home owner reading paperwork sat on the sofa in his living room
Derek Morgan
Derek Morgan

    Right of Way: Understanding Easements and Access Rights in Real Estate

    Easements and access rights may not be the first thing on your mind when considering real estate, but they are crucial elements that significantly influence how a property can be used and enjoyed.


    In this blog post, we aim to unravel the complexity surrounding easements and access rights, providing you with a clearer understanding of their roles in real estate. Right of way generally refers to the legal right to travel over another person's land. But how does it tie into easements and access rights? Let's find out.

    Definition and Basics of Easements

    An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. Easements allow rights like access, passage, or the placement of utilities, serving a significant role in infrastructure and access planning. Easements can be affirmative or negative, appurtenant (benefiting adjacent land) or gross (benefiting a specific individual or entity), each serving unique functions and restrictions.

    Understanding Access Rights and Right of Way

    Access rights refer to a property owner's right to enter or exit their property. Right of way is a form of easement, typically providing the necessary access rights to landlocked properties or shared spaces. Right of way is crucial for guaranteeing essential access to properties, and for defining the boundaries of such access.

    Common Examples of Easements and Right of Way

    Common easements include utility easements, allowing placement of utility lines, and driveway easements, permitting shared use of a driveway. Right of way becomes essential in cases like shared driveways, pedestrian paths across the property, or providing access to landlocked parcels. Public easements, like those for sidewalks or roads, permit general public access across private property.

    For more information, check out What is Common Area Maintenance!

    Establishing and Terminating Easements

    Easements can be established by express grant, implication, necessity, or prescription, each with unique requirements and considerations. Various methods, including expiration, merger, release, or abandonment can terminate easements. Considerations include the reason for termination, potential impacts on involved parties, and any legal requirements or constraints.

    understanding easements

    Legal Considerations and Rights of Property Owners

    Property owners have the right to use their land as they wish, provided it doesn't infringe upon the rights granted by the easement. Easements may restrict certain activities, like building over a utility easement or blocking access granted by a right of way. Property owners usually have the right to grant or deny easements, but exceptions can occur, particularly with utilities or right-of-way needs.

    Implications for Buyers and Sellers

    Buying Property with Existing Easements

    Buyers should understand the scope and impact of any existing easements, as they may affect property usage or value. Sellers must disclose existing easements, which can influence negotiations or the buyer's interest. Easements can create challenges, from limiting property use to affecting the appeal to potential buyers. Navigating these requires knowledge and possibly professional guidance.

    Resolving Easement Disputes

    Disputes can arise from misunderstood easement boundaries, perceived overuse, or new property owners unaware of existing easements. Resolution options range from direct negotiation to mediation or, as a last resort, litigation. Legal advice can be invaluable in navigating complex easement disputes, ensuring rights are protected, and resolving disputes appropriately.

    For a more through look at the three types of easements, check out What are Easements?


    We've demystified easements and access rights, covering their definitions, types, and implications for property owners, and handling disputes. Understanding easements and right of way is crucial for any property owner or prospective buyer. These rights impact property use, and value, and can even influence buying or selling decisions. We encourage anyone dealing with easement issues to seek professional advice. It's a complex field, but with the right guidance, you can navigate it effectively and protect your property rights.

    If you're ready to buy a home, visit and learn more about how we make buying your home simpler, faster, and more affordable than ever. Find listings near and far at to find your dream home today.

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