For some public projects, a condemning authority may not need to acquire your property entirely, but only certain rights to use it or a portion of it. An easement is a limited right to use the land of another for a specific purpose, for example, a transmission line easement across agricultural property or an underground utility easement through a residential neighborhood. If a landowner does not want to sell or grant the rights to use his property for this purpose, the authority can acquire the necessary easement by condemning it under the law of eminent domain.
Easements can impact landowners through restrictions imposed on the parcel of land. Most easements prevent landowners from placing structures on the designated land, such as fences, buildings, walls, sheds, and more. This can potentially impact development and expansion plans for property owners. Landowners are also required to pay taxes on the land used and are obligated to maintain the property.
Types of Easements
A “permanent easement” occurs when the condemning authority, purchases the rights to use a portion of your land for their own purposes. You still own the property; however, the landowner must abide by the limitations of use.
A “temporary easement” occurs when part or all of the property is appropriated for a limited period of time. The property owner retains title, is compensated for any losses associated with the taking, and regains complete possession of the property at the conclusion of the taking.
Categories of Easement Takings
Utility easements are exercised by utility companies designated for the installment of transmission lines and underground electric, water, sewer, as well as cable and phone lines. A utility easement is attached to the property deed, even if ownership is transferred. An example of a utility easement is an easement that gives an electric power company authority to run transmission lines along a strip of property.
Drainage easements control water runoff and typically involve the constructing of a retention pond. Ditches are usually dug, and water pipes are installed. Many property owners have experienced drainage issues. Sometimes when the government acquires land for a public infrastructure project, drainage is impacted. However, property owners are entitled to compensation for the damages caused to the remaining property.
Construction easements are temporary and commonly used for road widenings/reconstruction and intersection expansion/improvements. Construction easement can be used to store large equipment and other materials necessary for the project. Once the project is completed, the owner regains use of the land.
Contact Krause and Kinsman Today
It is important to consider how easements affect the value and use of your remaining property. Government entities are required to fairly compensate a property owner for the acquisition of an easement. However, you may deserve more than the amount offered.
The Krause and Kinsman Law Firm represents clients across the country defend their property rights and obtain just compensation in eminent domain matters.