NY Easement Disputes Attorney

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Whether you’re a property owner grappling with an unexpected easement disagreement, a developer struggling with access rights, or a neighbor caught in a trespass claim, easement disputes require skilled legal representation.

At Richman Law Firm PLLC, we can help New Yorkers navigate easement disputes. We work closely with all our clients, clearly explaining the legal alternatives for each case and strategizing to secure the best possible outcomes. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Understanding Easements in Real Estate

An easement is a legal right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose. Common easements include the right to cross a neighbor’s property to reach your own or utility easements that enable power companies to install and maintain lines.

Similarly, rights of way typically refer to a person’s or the public’s legal right to travel unhindered over another’s property, commonly used for roads and sidewalks.

Dominant & Servient Land

Two key terms are often used to describe the structure of an easement: dominant land and servient land. The dominant land is the property that benefits from the easement, while the servient land is the property that grants the easement.

For instance, if an easement allows someone to cross their neighbor’s property to reach their own, their property is the dominant land while the neighbor’s is the servient land.

Common Types of Easement and Property Disputes

NYC real estate is often a significant investment, and protecting your property rights is a must. Easement and property disputes can arise in many forms, and we’ll discuss the most common.

Trespasses

Trespass disputes typically involve someone unlawfully entering or using another person’s property. This could be a neighbor who regularly crosses land without permission or a company that installs utility lines on a property without an easement.

The legal ramifications of trespassing include financial penalties and civil charges under tort law. In addition, trespassing can disrupt the owner’s use of an easement or right of way, leading to further disputes. Engaging a New York real estate attorney is essential to navigate these intricate issues.

Title Disputes

Title disputes can sometimes involve disagreements over the scope or extent of easement rights, such as whether an easement only allows for pedestrian access or permits vehicular access. If there are conflicting property ownership claims, disputes arise over who has the right to grant or use an easement.

Easements are often documented in property titles. If property titles have discrepancies or inaccuracies, they could affect the validity or interpretation of easements associated with the property.

Fake Deeds

Fake deeds are fraudulent documents intended to transfer ownership of a property. This can lead to a range of complex legal issues.

For instance, individuals may attempt to create fake easements by fabricating deeds or other legal documents to grant easement rights over a property. These fake documents could be used to assert rights to use someone else’s land without the actual property owner’s consent. If you suspect you have been targeted by such fraud, hiring a skilled New York attorney is a must.

Adverse Possession

Adverse possession happens when someone adversely takes property contrary to the owner’s interests. Easements and adverse possession can intersect when adverse possession impacts the land over which an easement exists or when easement rights are acquired through continuous use over time. However, the impact of adverse possession on easements can vary depending on the circumstances of each case. Our NYC real estate lawyers can help.

Prescriptive Rights

Prescriptive rights are similar to adverse possession. However, prescriptive rights involve using another person’s land for a specific purpose rather than owning it outright.

This concept is often called “prescriptive easements” or “easements by prescription,” meaning that after continuous and uninterrupted use, one gains the right to use someone else’s property without permission.

Adverse possession can lead to land ownership if certain conditions are met over time. In contrast, prescriptive rights can lead to land use if certain conditions are met, but without gaining ownership.

Encroachment

Encroachment disputes in the context of easements happen when someone’s property or structure infringes upon the rights granted by an easement holder. An easement grants a specific right to use someone else’s property for a particular purpose, such as access, utilities, or passage. Encroachments occur when a property owner builds something (such as a fence, shed, or landscaping) that interferes with the rights granted by the easement.

Resolving encroachment disputes may require careful negotiation handled by experienced legal counsel. Failing to resolve such conflicts can result in an injunction to remove the encroachment, damages for any harm suffered, and interference with the rights of the non-encroaching property owner.

Riparian Rights

Riparian rights relate to using and owning water bodies adjacent to a property. In some cases, easements may be granted over riparian land to facilitate access to a water body or to provide utilities such as water lines or sewer pipes. For example, a property owner may grant an easement to a neighboring property owner to allow them to access a river or stream for fishing or boating purposes.

Riparian rights include the exclusive entitlement to access navigable water, reasonable access to and from navigable water, and the reasonable use of water that touches or flows through a property.

Easement Termination

Easement termination involves legally ending the right to use another’s land for a specific purpose, which can occur through various means. An easement may expire if established for a limited duration, or the easement holder may voluntarily release it. It may also end through a merger when the ownership of both the easement and the land merges, abandonment by the holder, or if the necessity that justified the easement ceases to exist.

Ending an easement requires navigating legal documentation and possible court proceedings, so it is advisable to seek legal representation.

Liability Issues

Liability issues can arise when someone is injured on a property, especially if they were there because of an easement or right of way.

Typically, the easement rights holder bears the primary responsibility for accidents or injuries on the easement. Should you face a potential easement-related liability issue, it’s essential to consult a lawyer to understand your legal rights and duties. Our experienced team of legal professionals can help.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

Easement disputes, whether they involve property access, trespassing, or rights of way, require a thorough understanding of New York real estate litigation. Trust Richman Law Firm PLLC’s result-driven and personalized service. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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    SCOTT B. RICHMAN, ESQ.

    Mr. Richman is the Managing Member and Founder of Richman Law Firm PLLC. In his role as Managing Member, Mr. Richman oversees the day-to-day operations of the firm and handles the litigation of the most complex legal matters across a vast array of practice areas and disciplines. ​

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