4 Considerations for Easements and Right of Ways

It is not uncommon for property owners, residential and commercial, to allow a specific person, group of people, or a company to use or enter their property for a specific purpose. The right to use or enter property of another is called an “easement.”

An easement is created by an agreement between two parties or is acquired from use over time. An example of an easement is when the utility company has permission to perform inspections and maintenance of utility lines on someone’s property. Easements for people to travel across property are referred to as “right of ways.” The person benefiting from the easement is called the dominant estate. The land that has the easement on it is called the servient estate. Below are some important considerations regarding easements. 

  1. Use and Purpose (scope). What rights are given to the “dominant estate”? How may it be used, exactly, and to what end?
  2. Users. Except for easements considered to be accessible to the general public, the easement should specify who can use the easement for its limited purpose. Will vehicles be allowed to travel over the easement? 
  3. Structural Restrictions. Is either the dominant estate or servient estate allowed to construct anything on the easement? Is there a certain area directly adjacent to the easement that cannot be built upon? Who decides on making renovations or improvements to the easement, and who is responsible for those expenses? 
  4. Termination. In what circumstances can the easement be done away with? Does the termination of the easement require the consent of all parties? Does misuse trigger termination of the easement? 

Oil and Gas Pipelines

Many property owners in Oklahoma are familiar with easements that are acquired by midstream  companies. The easements procured by these companies will be used to install pipelines to transport oil or gas to its destination. In addition to the easement for the physical pipeline, construction of pipelines often necessitates extra space for the workers, vehicles, and other on-site paraphernalia. 

Conclusion

Easements can take many forms and serve a diverse array of dominant parties. There are many complex facets of an easement that were not covered here, which is why it is essential to have an experienced attorney help you with such real estate matters. Robertson & Williams is well-equipped to provide you with efficient service and effective legal solutions. Call us at 405-848-1944; we look forward to speaking with you.

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