Understanding easements in Tennessee

When investing in real estate, you should check whether the property has existing easements. Tennessee law recognizes various types of easements, which grant others the right to use the land.

Review the basics of easements before moving forward with this type of real estate transaction.

Common easement types

An easement gives a third party a claim to use part of another’s land for a particular purpose. Often, an easement travels with the property, which means that it remains in effect when someone else buys the land.

Property for sale may be subject to a public or private easement. Private easements involve an agreement between two parties. For example, the neighbor may have a fence that crosses over the property line. Public easements provide government or utility access for the public good. Examples include water lines, parks, roads and sidewalks.

Easements can either be express, which means they are in writing, or implied. An implied easement involves either continued, open use of the land or use because of necessity.

Considerations for investors

When buying a property with an easement, make sure to read the terms carefully. Ending an existing easement can be difficult. Some easements have an expiration date. Others remain in effect indefinitely.

Carefully review the terms of the easement if it is in writing. If not, see if you can have it documented as part of the sales transaction.

Common disputes involving easements include misuse of the person’s land, use that goes beyond the agreed-upon use and interference with the landowner’s enjoyment of the land.

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