Utility Easements and Your Property 

It may come as a surprise to a property owner, but there may be restrictions on how certain parts of your property can be used. In fact, it is not uncommon that as the owner, you may not have use rights to certain parts of your property at all. An easement on your lot can significantly limit what you can do with a specific portion of your property.

What is an Easement?

Easements are designations that legally allow for other individuals, such as neighbors or utility companies, to access portions of your property. Essentially, the title to a specific piece of land remains with the landowner, but another person or organization is given the right to use that land for a distinct purpose. 

While you may have reserved rights to use the land and can deny access to some individuals, you cannot deny access to the easement holder. It is important, then, to understand what restrictions exist on your property before purchasing or building a home so that in the future you are not prevented from building on or making an improvement to the land because an easement exists.  

How does a Utility Easement work? 

A utility easement is the most common type of easement and allows a utility company to run its pipes, lines, etc., under or on another’s property in order to serve its customers. Rather than buying all the land necessary to install the utilities, utility companies negotiate easement agreements with landowners. Due to the costly nature of installing and providing utilities, these easements usually last for a very long time, if not for perpetuity. 

Utility Easement rights on your property

When you have a utility easement on your property, the utility company may have a range of legal rights. A few restrictions you might face include:

  • Access without approval – Although you may want to know who will be working on your property and when the utility company may not have to provide that information.
  • Restrict physical improvements – A utility easement may prevent certain upgrades or changes to your property due to the location of utility lines, such as installing an in-ground swimming pool or erecting a fence.
  • Growing limits – The utility company may require regular access to a particular area of your property that may cause damage to landscaping, limiting what you can plant and where. Many utility easements also limit the planting of major trees in a specified area.

How do I know if my property has an easement? 

As the property owner, you may be granted some flexibility when building or making improvements near an easement, but the process can be burdensome. It is best to fully understand a property’s easement locations prior to purchasing or building on a property.

A Mortgage Location will plot any easements shown on a recorded plat if your lot is in a platted subdivision.  Additionally, a title search performed by your title company will look for any recorded easements on the property you want to purchase. Your title company and land surveyor work hand-in-hand to identify easements (the title company) and plot them as they relate to your lot (the surveyor).  

Having this information before making a purchase decision is instrumental to being fully informed about your land investment.

Why McSteen?

At McSteen, with more than 50 years of experience in offering Mortgage Location services, we are a leader in the industry serving all 88 counties of Ohio, and now in surrounding counties in Indiana

  • Quick turnaround time 
  • No charge for acreage on residential Mortgage Locations
  • No cancellation fee
  • Qualified Qualia Vendor

Investing in a land survey is an investment in peace of mind, both now, and down the road that your largest investment is accurately documented and protected. Contact us or order a survey and let our team of survey professionals take on your surveying needs.

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