Texas easement law defines an easement as a legal method of granting the right to someone else to use your land. Maybe you want to provide a common path to a pond behind your property, or maybe your neighbor needs to share part of your driveway. Easements come in many different forms. We’re here to help determine which easement best serves you.
Texas Easement Law
As the landowner, you may grant one of the following easement deeds:
- Negative Easement: places restrictions on the exact use of the easement
- Affirmative Easement: permits the easement to be used for any purpose the easement rights holder desires
If the landowner is not agreeable, easements may be sought through the court.
Easement by Perscription
According to Texas easement law, an easement by prescription is obtained and held against the landowner’s wishes. For the claimant to successfully acquire this easement, they must meet the following requirements:
- the easement must be used exclusively by the claimant and not open to the public or qualify as a joint-use easement
- the easement must be uninterrupted and continuous for at least ten years
- the use of the easement must be adverse, open, notorious, and hostile to the interest of the landowner
Easement by Estoppel
If the claimant relies on the landowner’s oral agreement to an easement that is later revoked, an easement by estoppel may be sought if the claimant can prove the following:
- a promise of the easement was communicated to the claimant by the landowner
- the claimant believed the promise
- they must show reliance on the verbal promise to their detriment, like irrecoverable funds if the promise is revoked
Easement by Implication
An easement by implication may be imposed by the court to provide equity. Similar to an estoppel claim, no written easement existed. Additionally, the claimant must prove:
- prior use of the easement was continuous for an extended period with access abruptly cut off by the landowner
- the prior use is apparent and obvious, reasonably continuous, and necessary to enjoy the fair use of the claimant’s property
- an original unity of ownership of the two estates immediately before the easement was created
Easement by Necessity
Often in Texas easement law, easement by implication and easement by necessity are confused with each other. However, they differ in their qualifications. To obtain an easement by necessity, the claimant must prove:
- there was a unity of ownership with the alleged dominant and servient estates
- the access is a necessity, not a mere convenience
- the necessity existed at the time of the severance of the estates
Notably, being landlocked, by itself, is not enough to obtain an easement by necessity. Texas courts have ruled no one can have an easement by necessity over the land of a stranger. Therefore, the claimant must show conduct between the two estates. Additionally, the necessity must be strict in that it is the only possible access to the claimant’s other property.
Seek Representation Immediately
Texas easement law can become complex and complicated quickly. We’re here to help enforce and establish easements. Give us a call for a free consultation, and we’ll begin the process for your specific easement needs.
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