Easement and property line disputes in Oklahoma are common but can be avoided. An easement is a legal right to use a specific part of someone else’s property for a particular purpose. In an Oklahoma property line dispute, an easement can provide a solution that allows both parties to use the land in question. If there is a property line dispute or other problem between owners of adjoining land, an easement may be a potential solution.
Deciding Easement and Property Line Disputes
Legal guidance is critical in property line disputes, as property law and records can be very complex and have special requirements depending on the situation. Some key steps involve identifying the area of the easement, reaching terms on how the easement can be used, drafting a clear and binding easement agreement, and recording the easement agreement with the county where the properties are located.
Identify The Easement
The first step is to identify the specific area of the property that will be subject to the easement. This could include a driveway, a pathway, or a utility line. Easements come in many verities depending on the property and what’s involved. Some easements deal with property lines and access like utilities and more. Other easements may apply only to a person and there ability to use the land of another. This might involve things like limited use such as hunting or riding a recreational vehicle on another’s property by a specific person. The key to an easement is to understand exactly the type easement involved and what exactly is in dispute.
This type of easement involves two adjacent parcels of land, known as the dominant and servient estates. The easement benefits the dominant estate by granting it a right over the servient estate, such as a right of way for access or a right to receive utility services. This is a very common type of easement. An easement appurtenant is common in the case where you have two pr more properties on a single lot. This allows the servient or back property to gain access through the domianant property. This is also called a easement by necessity in certain type fact situtations.
Easement in Gross:
Unlike an easement appurtenant, an easement in gross does not involve two adjoining parcels. It doesn’t involve a right of way or accessing a persons lot to get to another lot. Instead, it grants an individual or entity a personal right to use or access someone else’s property. The distinction is that the right is for another persons use not to access ones property to get to another a property. For example, a utility company may have an easement in gross to install and maintain power lines on a specific property. Another great example is allowing an easement in gross to another person for hunting or fishing. The easement flows to one person for a specific purpose over a specific time.
This kind of easement and property line disputes in Oklahoma closely resemble what’s called adverse possession. Sometimes, one property owner may already have the benefit of an easement without a written agreement setting out its terms. In a case where someone has used a part of the property to travel across or maintain access for the legal period of 15 years in Oklahoma, that person may have a prescriptive easement. The use of the easement must have been open, notorious, actual, exclusive, continuous, and hostile for that time. These requirements don’t mean that there must be fighting or aggression over the use of the property, just that the person using the easement claimed the right to use it and the rightful owner of that part of the property did not object or close it off for the entire time of the 15 years.
Agree To Terms Of The Easement
Once the area of the easement has been identified, the parties must agree on the terms of the easement. This includes the purpose of the easement, the duration of the easement, and any restrictions on its use. Both parties must agree on the use to be made of the property in question and how the easement will benefit both. In the case where there is already a use of the land and that specific use is now the issues that’s in dispute
Draft An Easement Agreement
An easement agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms of the easement. Think of the easement like a contract. In the contract for an easement the parties can decide on methods to resolve easement disputes. This could include arbitration, mediation or a trial. It should be drafted by an attorney and signed by both parties. Specific property law principles unique to the state of Oklahoma and the county where the property is located must be strictly followed. This includes how the easement is written and the terms to be followed in using the easement. It may also include provions for attorney fees if there is a dispute.
Record The Easement Agreement
Once the easement agreement has been signed, it should be recorded with the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. This ensures that the easement is legally binding and can be enforced. If you fail to record the easement it may very well end up unenforceable. This is a big problem and leads to many of the easement and property line disputes our Oklahoma attorneys handled over the years.
Use The Easement As Agreed
When the easement is in place, both parties can use the land subject to the terms of the easement agreement. It is important to follow the terms of the agreement to avoid any future disputes. In the event the use that’s set out in the easement expands its important to modify the original terms. Sometimes an easement can be expanded unitingly. This is done unwittingly just by a continued use that’s relied on by all the parties. The use is also open for each party to the contract to see.
Other Business Law Articles From Our Tulsa Lawyers Blog
Tulsa Okla. Business and Easement Attorneys
An easement can be a valuable tool in an Oklahoma property line dispute. It allows both parties to use the land in question without further conflict. However, it is important to work with an attorney to ensure that the easement agreement is legally binding. By doing so this protects the interests of both parties. The experienced business and property line attorneys at Kania Law Office are here for you. Call 918-743-2233 or contact us online for more information and to schedule a free consultation.