Easements

Marketable title act extinguishes easement by necessity

In a surprising decision, the Vermont Supreme Court held that an easement by necessity must be recorded or it will be lost by operation of the state’s marketable title act. Gray v. Treder, 2018 VT 137, 204 A.3d 1117 (Vt. 2018). The facts of the case were unusual, however, because the easement in this case was not clearly visible by physical evidence of its use. That will...

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Easement by necessity may include right to lay utility lines for necessary services

The Connecticut Supreme Court has held that an easement of access established by necessity, an expansion of that easement for utility lines will be allow so long as it is reasonably necessary for the beneficial enjoyment of the dominant estate and does not unreasonably impair the servient estate owner’s beneficial enjoyment of their property.

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Easement by necessity available if the difficulty or expense of using a legally available route renders the land unfit for its reasonably anticipated use

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted an owner an easement by necessity even though the land contained a small strip connecting the land to a public way. Bartkowski v. Ramondo, 219 A.3d 1083 (Pa. 2019) (applying the Private Roads Act, 36 Pa. Stat. §§2731-2891. It did so on the ground that access need not be strictly necessary to get to the land for an easement...

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Owner of power line easement may install fibre optic cables without exceeding the scope of the easement

In a case applying what appears to be the majority rule, the Seventh Circuit held that an easement for power lines included the right to install lines for other purposes -- in this case fibre optic cables. West v. Louisville Gas & Electric Co., 951 F.3d 827 (7th Cir. 2020). The Texas Supreme Court rejected this...

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Grant of permission to use driveway 31 years after initial use did not defeat prescriptive easement claim

Owners who traversed a road over neighboring land to get to a public way for more than 30 years established a right to a prescriptive easement despite a grant of permission by the owner of the servient estate that occurred long after the statute of limitations had run....

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No easement by necessity to access fire escape

No easement by necessity exists that would allow a condo owner to pass through another condo to reach a fire escape. Nor was there an express easement even though the condo documents gave the unit owner the right to use the fire escape. Chamberlain v. Badaoui,  95 Mass App. Ct. 670, 2019 Mass. App. LEXIS 93, 2019 WL 3334700 (Mass. App. Ct. 2019). No express right to go through the neighboring unit to get to the fire escape was created and the court refused to create one by... Read more about No easement by necessity to access fire escape

Easement owner who exceeds the scope of the easement can obtain new use rights by prescription

Owner of an easement of passage that also uses the land without permission to park a car, use the area as a yard and maintain the lawn exceeds the scope of the easement and if done for the statutory period can obtain an easement by prescription for the longstanding uses. Savoie v. Zaniboni,  27 LCR 165, 2019 Mass. LCR LEXIS 58, 2019 WL 1511101 (Mass. Land Ct. 2019). The court applies the traditional presumption that uses of another's land are nonpermissive unless evidence of permission is present.