Encroachments and easements are two common real estate issues that can affect commercial and residential property owners. If you own property, such as land and/or any buildings permanently attached to land, you have certain rights to use your land and those buildings how you please.
If a person or company tries to build a building on land that you own without your explicit permission, the person or company in question may be creating an encroachment, which is an intrusion of land or property owned by another person. In some instances, this occurrence is illegal; in other instances, the law allows others the right to use your land, which is called an easement. In this blog, we explain the difference between encroachments and easements and how to address them.
As experts in various real estate dealings, such as commercial and residential titles, escrow services, and property research, the Landmark Title Assurance Agency team knows a thing or two about boundary disputes. Real estate encroachments and easements are two things that can create serious problems for a property owner, which is why it’s imperative you stay informed and up-to-date on property law if you are, in fact, a property owner.
As we mentioned previously, a real estate encroachment occurs when an individual or company violates a property owner’s rights by using their land without their permission. This usually affects property owners who are adjacent to one another: Property Owner A might build a building on Property Owner B’s land (their neighbor) without their consent.
More often than not, real estate encroachments occur inadvertently due to confusion over a property’s boundary lines. However, there are times an encroachment on a property is deliberate. If this is the case, the property owner has the right to legally remove encroachments found on his or her property. The only time this isn’t possible is if an easement is in place. Examples of an easement include a utility company’s right to access your backyard to perform a service, or a person’s right to cross your land to access their property.
If there is an encroachment on your property, consider the following:
- Ignore the encroachment – It may be best to ignore the encroachment if it’s insignificant.
- Draft up an encroachment agreement – If, for example, your neighbor’s garage is built on your property, you may want to consider an encroachment agreement to permit the existence of their encroachment on your property. These agreements usually contain a clause in the title that relinquishes the neighbor’s claim over their subject on your property.
- Draft up an easement – This agreement gives the neighbor more rights to the property in question. You’ll want to speak to an attorney about what rights your neighbor will have to their subject on your property.
- Remove the encroachment – You may be able to take the neighbor to court to have the encroachment removed. Keep in mind this option can result in expensive legal fees and a lot of time in and out of court.
If you are in the process of selling or purchasing commercial or residential real estate or have questions about easements and encroachments, contact Landmark Title Assurance Agency in Phoenix. Our experts are able to provide guidance or refer you to someone who can help. Call 602.748.2800 to speak with us today!