Kassouni Law represents clients on a wide variety of California property law matters, including those involving easements. The practice defends clients who have had their constitutional property rights infringed upon. The easement lawyers at Kassouni Law represent clients throughout the state of California with offices located in Sacramento and satellite offices in Los Angeles. To have your property case assessed by one of California’s preeminent land use and property attorneys, call managing partner Timothy Kassouni at (877) 770-7379.
An easement is the right to use another person’s real property (land) without owning the property. One common example is an easement that allows a person to use a road or pathway on a neighbor’s property in order to get to and from the person’s home. In California and across the country, easements are also often created to allow power, gas and phone lines or water and sewage pipes to be constructed and installed on private property.
A landowner granting an easement continues to own the land covered by the easement and is free to do as he or she wishes with the property, so long as it does not interfere with the granted use of the easement.
California recognizes four types of easements: express; implied; easement by necessity; and prescriptive.
An express easement is one in which a landowner agrees to allow another person to use some or all of the landowner’s property. In California, a law known as the statute of frauds requires that such an easement be made in writing. The easement grants only the rights specified and grants them only to the specified easement holder. If A provides an easement to B allowing B to walk up A’s driveway, for example, B is not entitled to also go park her car in A’s driveway. In addition, the easement is B’s only, unless otherwise specified in writing.
An implied easement, on the other hand, is not based on a written agreement, but on prior use. For example, California courts will recognize an implied easement where a tract of land is divided into two lots, one of which was used for the benefit of the other before the land was divided. For example, where a road crosses directly through a property and the property is divided and sold such that the portion sold is accessible from a public highway only by driving through the other portion, an implied easement likely exists.
Easement by Necessity
Similarly, an easement by necessity will be created if there is no possible way to access a parcel of land without crossing another parcel of land, and if the history of the two parcels of land suggests intent to provide an easement. For example, consider X, who owns a large lot surrounded on three sides by non-navigable forest and only the fourth (front) side faces a road. X then decides to sell the front half of the lot to Y, and later sells the back half to Z. Z must therefore cross Y’s parcel of land to access her own. Because the parcels were originally owned by a single party (X), the need for an easement existed at the time the parcels became owned by different parties (Y and Z), and the need for the easement outweighs the burden imposed on the grantor (Y), a court would likely find that Z has an easement by necessity in this situation. Easements by necessity must be created by a court order.
Finally, a prescriptive easement is created when a person uses another’s land without the landowner’s consent, but in such a way that the landowner should reasonably be aware that the person is using the land. A person seeking an easement by prescription must use the property in this manner for a continuous period of at least five years.
Easements of each type often involve complex and confusing legal issues that an experienced California property attorney can assist property owners in navigating. Founded by seasoned California lawyer Timothy V. Kassouni with offices in both Los Angeles and Sacramento, the Kassouni Law practice wields a special focus on land use, property rights, and development law. You can reach both the LA and Sacramento easement attorneys with your legal concerns by calling (877) 770-7379. Lawyer and managing partner Timothy Kassouni will speak with you personally.