Easements


Understanding the different types of easements is very important so you can ensure that your property rights are being protected. Whether you’re the property owner or the party requiring access, if you know the laws, it will help you understand your rights.

Shinners & Cook can help individuals and families in Michigan determine what is required of them if someone is requesting or requiring an easement on their land. We can ensure that the correct legal documents are drawn up and executed. If you have any questions about easement laws in Michigan, we can help. Call us today to set up a consultation.

How many types of easements are there?

There are many different types of easements:

  • Ingress and egress
  • Solar farm easements
  • Cell tower easements
  • Energy transmission lines
  • Windmills

Then there are property rights which are very similar to easements but provide similar but different rights:

  • Rights of way
  • Oil and gas rights
  • Telecommunications towers and transmission lines
  • Licenses to use property
  • Adverse possession rights

Many of them might seem similar, so it can sometimes be confusing to determine what kind of easement or other right you have or need. We practice in all of these areas of the law.

The following are the two broad cartegories of easements:

Easement Appurtenant

This type of easement runs with the land, meaning it is supposed to be passed down from owner to owner for the benefit of one property and the burden of another. This type of easement generally lasts forever unless the two property owners expressly agree to terminate the easement.

Easement in Gross

An easement in gross typically attaches to a person. A person can have permission, or an easement, to use someone else’s land. For example, they may have the right to hunt or fish game on a particular piece of property – but it doesn’t pass down to the next property owner.

While those are the two main categories of easements, there are many different types of easements that fall under each of those categories. Some of the most common ones include the following:

Express Easement

An express easement arises out of a mutual agreement between landowners. An express easement is in writing and should be recorded in the chain of title The written document should be unambiguous. This is important because courts often terminate easements which contain confusing and ambiguous information. While courts will attempt to arrive at the parties’ intentions sometimes each party to a dispute has their own ideas about what they each intended,

Implied Easement

An implied easement exists when there is no document or agreement expressly created identifing the easement. An implied easement usually applies to parcels of land which were once larger parcels and were then split into smaller pieces. To create an easement by implication, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. The easement must be reasonably necessary to enjoy the original piece of the property;
  2. The land must be divided, and the owner is either selling or retaining part or subdividing the property and selling pieces of it to a new owner/owners;
  3. The use of the land was apparent and continuous; and
  4. The use for the implied easement must have existed before the severance or sale.

Easement by Necessity

When a piece of land is locked in by another parcel, an easement by necessity is generally created. For example, one piece of land is behind another, and only the front portion has road access. The owner of the back parcel of land must access the front property in order to get to the road. In this case, an easement by necessity may be created. A landowner who is required to allow another party access over property can typically choose the route, within reason.

Prescriptive Easement

A prescriptive easement is created when someone uses another person’s land for a period of at least 15 years. There is no express or mutual agreement. In order for a prescriptive easement to be created, the use of the land must be adverse, the user of the land must believe that they are entitled to use of the easement, the use must be continuous, open, notorious, and peaceable, and the property owner whose land is being used must have actual or presumed knowledge of the easement. The person who uses someone else’s land does not have ownership rights over the property they’re accessing; they simply have the right to use the property if they meet the above requirements.

Who maintains an easement in Michigan?

Generally, the easement holder – the person who uses the other person’s land for access – is responsible for maintaining the easement. While the easement holder never becomes an owner of the land, they are using it for their own benefit, and they are responsible for the upkeep of the easement.

How do I terminate an easement in Michigan?

Easements that attach to the land are in existence until they are terminated. An easement can be terminated through a written agreement between the easement holder and the property owner. Additionally, an easement by necessity is terminated if there is no longer a need for the easement.

For example, a new road is built giving the easement holder access to the road without crossing another person’s property. In that instance the easement would terminate automatically. Note that title to a property may still bear evidence of the easement and require action. Some express easements will specifically state the length the easement is to last. Once that time period runs out, the easement expires. Finally, an easement is terminated if the easement holder abandons the easement and stops using it.

What is an example of an easement in gross?

An easement in gross benefits a person rather than a parcel of land. An easement in gross does not transfer when a property when it is sold, it dies with the person

When do I need to hire an easement attorney?

If you’re the property owner and someone wants an easement on your land, an easement attorney is a must. . At Shinners & Cook, we are very experienced in creating and enforcing easements, so no matter what issue you’re having, we can be of assistance.

If you are a property owner who needs access to someone else’s land, an easement lawyer in Michigan can help. Sometimes it’s challenging to work out the proper terms of an easement without the help of a professional. If this is the case, Shinners & Cook can help.

What does an easement lawyer do?

Sometimes the easement holder is taking advantage of their access and disturbing your enjoyment of the property. Other times, someone might be using your property even though there was never an easement created.

No matter what situation in which you find yourself, a Shinners & Cook easement lawyer can help you develop a plan. They can help you create, design, enforce, and terminate an easement, or negotiate with a neighbor who isn’t following the rules. If your property is damaged by the easement holder, an easement lawyer can help you file a lawsuit to collect damages.

Contact Shinners & Cook for help with your easement issues

Easements, while sometimes necessary, can often be confusing and cause a lot of conflict between property owners. If you find yourself in a situation where you need help – whether you’re the easement holder or the owner of the land where the easement was created – Shinners & Cook can assist you. Contact us today for a consultation.

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