You find a property that you like, but there’s a catch: It has an easement. In order to access their own property, someone who owns an adjacent lot has an easement to use the driveway. This saved them a lot of money because they didn’t have to create their own.
However, you’re not interested in extending the easement. Unlike the seller, you have no relationship with that neighbor and feel no obligation to let them use your driveway. If you buy the property, does that automatically end the easement that was negotiated between the previous owner and their neighbor?
What type of easement is it?
It’s very important to do your research in a situation like this. Most importantly, you need to know what type of easement exists and what does the agreement specifically states? There is one type, called an easement appurtenant, that is connected to the property and that stays with it through a sale.
In other words, the neighbor has the right to use that land no matter who owns it. You can buy it, but the easement stays. It’s part of the land itself. You can negotiate with them to have it removed, of course, but it is not automatically canceled just because there is a new owner. If you refuse to let the neighbor use the easement, you are violating their rights.
Investigating the details
As you can see, a crucial part of any purchase is to look into the small details and to understand exactly what you’re buying, what you’re legally obligated to do and what steps to take if you want to legally make changes to that property.