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Easements on sold and resurveyed land -

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  • Easements on sold and resurveyed land -

    We purchased our farm in 2007 from the Smith Family. At the time the Jones family had a piece of farm land that was land locked behind ours, and so the Jones family had a dirt road that ran through the Brown family (front of road) land, through the Smith family land to their (the Jones') land.

    The Smith family sold all their land to the Jones family about 90 days after we purchased our land.

    The dirt 'easement' road runs across about 70' of the back of our property. BUT now his two parcels of land are now connected, and he is being some what of a twit.

    SO - I am trying to find out if and how he was granted easement - given the two properties in question were since sold from the Smiths and now the Jones are no longer land locked.

    I called my county registrar of deeds who told me to get on their website to do a grantee list. Of course now their website is throwing a database error so I have to go to the court house.

    Before I go down there searching records I was wondering what exactly I should be searching for.
    A Starting Point Stables Angier, NC | http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angier...37164249658446

  • #2
    Most easements run with the land, meaning once there is an easement on the land, it continues in perpetuity. I would think you need to look up the original easement. The wording of that would tell you if it was an easement for a certain period of years, or until the land becomes non-land locked, or , umm, forever.

    Sheila
    (who was a realtor for 15 years)

    Comment


    • #3
      A little confused about the time line - you said you purchased your land from the SMITH family but also that the SMITH family sold ALL their land to the Jones family prior to your purchase? Did you mean the 3rd (Brown) family sold to the JOnes?

      Either way, it is also my understand that right of ways/easements usually do go with the land and when you purchased your parcel it should have been noted that the easement was there - a condition, if you will, of the purchase.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thanks for the reply Sheila. Will it be obvious what I'm looking for when I dig into the records? They were not very helpful at the county office. :-(
        A Starting Point Stables Angier, NC | http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angier...37164249658446

        Comment


        • #5
          In our area too many easements have been sold, no more riding and unless you own waterfront property you have no access to the bay, money and power really talks around here.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            The Brown family isn't a factor only to show that the Jones 'easement' dirt road ran through their property to get to the road (for once upon a time). But they still drive on the Brown's land to get to their land. But they don't have to any more. The Jones do in fact own a large chunk of road front property.

            Now the Smiths own none of the property that the easement road went through. They sold the first chunk to me (think - I purchased the center of a horse shoe), then about 90 days later the Smiths sold the rest around the horse shoe to the Jones - who were originally landlocked by all the Smith land. But now they are not land locked because they own it all.

            Yes, I get a condition of the purchase, but the Jones purchased ALL the rest of the land, making them no longer land locked.

            I own 6 precious acres.... so 50' depth of land X 300' in length is precious to me. He owns about 80 acres I'd guess. He could easily drive 70' to the north and drive on his own land now to get to the farthest bit of property.

            He has told me before we are not allowed to ride on the dirt road, but it is clearly within my property line. :-\ Yet they drive their tractors up 'my' drive way (which by the way belongs to the Green family which I have to maintain but is my easement to my farm, lol)
            A Starting Point Stables Angier, NC | http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angier...37164249658446

            Comment


            • #7
              Ah, got it. If the road is on your land and he has the easement, it means you can't bar him from using it. Whether or not he still needs it, it probably still exists. But since it is your land, he can't bar you from using it either. Unless there was a really weird clause in the easement. It's called sharing, but apparently he doesn't understand that!

              We have easements on our property and it's spelled out who can do what- in our case they are allowed to to put up gates, pave the road etc, but it's in the agreement.

              Comment


              • #8
                Restraining order or small claims??
                I have a neighbor who owns the road back to her house, 4 other neighbors use this road, there is no other access for them, how could she possibly tell them they can not use the road, she is nutty so I have almost waited for her to try something, I would ask her but there is no way I will go near her.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am with the OP, in that folks "let" other folks have use of their property, but nothing is written down about it. So people coming in later, new property owners, don't have those old agreements, so the lane is closed.

                  For OP, if nothing is written down about an easement, permanent use of the easement to access property that was landlocked in the beginning, then her property is hers. Most times land is not lost because someone allowed passage over it, but it can depend on where you live. OP is doing the best thing, finding out what is LEGALLY WRITTEN about the property by the original seller. She may be able to just put up a perimeter fence, so user must then travel his OWN LAND to reach that back field. OP then is allowed full use of her property for her purposes.

                  Easement use is a KINDNESS, favor granted by a property owner, not a RIGHT of use by anyone coming along! Users who find easements tend to take that priviledge for granted, and in many cases abuse the gift with trashing the ground leaving ruts, hoofmarks, noise and trash as they pass thru. They don't treat it like the gift it is for sure! Especially if they are the follow-up users, not the original person who asked for the passage.

                  Good luck OP in getting your footages back into your possession. Being a good neighbor is a great thing, but the easement user is not thankful for the gift and not actually NEEDING your footage anymore after land purchase. Just doesn't want to loose footage on a producing field now. SHOULD be giving you a big THANKS, with a handful of flowers, for all the time you let him use it!! Being his GOOD NEIGHBOR about it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm going to be devil's advocate. He owns two or more separate parcels of land. If he were to sell the landlocked parcel in the future, the easement would be critical to the sale. Unless the property lines were changed in the purchase, I see no reason why the easement should be vacated.

                    My farm is in 3 parcels -- a 50 acre, a 45 acre and a 38 acre section. We have an easement for a dirt road for our landlocked neighbors. I don't mind the road and have no obligation to care for it.

                    I think the best you can hope for it that he won't use the easement for now, but non-use does not mean waiver. There may be a point where he would want to start using the easement again. You would have to live with it.
                    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
                    http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Yeah, he owns over 1100 ft of road front property now, and like I said some 80 JOINED acres. Like I said, he could easily drive 70' more to the north, and there is no reason why he can't. :-\

                      But I have no idea if there is a legal easement. That's what I'm trying to find out. This was all family land once upon a time that was 'willed out' I'm assuming over the years.

                      What I should have done is had the Smith's move that little dirt road back as part of the sale agreement. I mean, does the easement have to be on X patch of land, as long as there is an easement?!? Water under the bridge now I guess.

                      And I wouldn't be questioning this if he hadn't done things over the last few years that... arg. I mean who sets up a deer stand with in 20 ft of a horse property when he has 80 acres to hunt on (which he has used his bob cat and made trails on). :-\


                      Ahhhh, moving into the 'Good Old Boy' network from the outside. *sigh*
                      A Starting Point Stables Angier, NC | http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angier...37164249658446

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just thought of something else--came back to add it. If it was a legal easement, it should have shown up on YOUR survey when you bought the property. I would look at your copy first. If the easement shows up on that (it's usually dotted lines and the word easement along them, so would be really obvious), then it's pretty much a done deal and will probably be the type that "goes with the land" forever. You can call the surveyor and ask them about it just to be sure. If it doesn't show up on your survey, then it's probably a word of mouth type easement. Then it gets trickier and you might want to contact a real estate attourney. If they have been using the word of mouth type easement for a certain number of years (which varies from area to area) then it basically becomes a grandfathered legal easement.

                        So to sum it up--if its on your survey, call your surveyor, it's probably a legal forever type easement. If it's not on your survey, call a real estate attorney, cause you will not be able to sort it out with your neighbor without one probably.

                        I haven't been a realtor for more than 5 years now, but I doubt something this basic has changed much.

                        Sheila

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chestnut Run View Post
                          Just thought of something else--came back to add it. If it was a legal easement, it should have shown up on YOUR survey when you bought the property. I would look at your copy first. If the easement shows up on that (it's usually dotted lines and the word easement along them, so would be really obvious), then it's pretty much a done deal and will probably be the type that "goes with the land" forever. You can call the surveyor and ask them about it just to be sure. If it doesn't show up on your survey, then it's probably a word of mouth type easement. Then it gets trickier and you might want to contact a real estate attourney. If they have been using the word of mouth type easement for a certain number of years (which varies from area to area) then it basically becomes a grandfathered legal easement.

                          So to sum it up--if its on your survey, call your surveyor, it's probably a legal forever type easement. If it's not on your survey, call a real estate attorney, cause you will not be able to sort it out with your neighbor without one probably.

                          I haven't been a realtor for more than 5 years now, but I doubt something this basic has changed much.

                          Sheila
                          Or, if you don't have a survey (or if your survey doesn't show the ROW easement) it will DEFINITELY appear in your title insurance. If its in your title policy, then that will give you the deed book and page number where the legal easement can be found in the courthouse.

                          If he does not have a legally binding easement to cross your property, then be sure to talk to an attorney ASAP as he could be building a case for adverse possession of your land...not something you want to deal with. Trust me...
                          Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Haven’t read the responses – but I work in title insurance.

                            The easement was either created by:

                            A Grant Deed – original subdivider may have granted a parcel in FEE along with an EASEMENT parcel (which travels over your land). This would “run with” the land, and passed on to successors and assigns.

                            An Easement Agreement – could be that there was an agreement drafted that created the easement, often with terns regarding maitaince etc, this will usually run with the land as well (unless there were provisions in the document if alternate access was provided / more land acquired that the easement would terminate – rare scenario).

                            A Grant of Easement – Could be that the easement was granted in a document separate of the initial grant.

                            Few notes – Even if more property is acquired, most land owners would not want to give up the easement, as it would mean that the one parcel is now land locked. I understand that they purchased more land, but if this particular parcel is a legal separate parcel – it is more valuable as such (with access) than if it is permanently merged with the larger parcel (meaning it could never be sold separately again, especially it is land locked)

                            What to look for at the county recorder? Find the Vesting Deed (most current deed) on the neighbor’s property. It should include the easement in the legal description, and in the description of the easement, it may reference the document which created the easement in the first place (ie, an easement 30 feet in width as created by that certain easement agreement recorded… Or… easement 30 feet in width as reserved by Ford in the deed recorded…etc).
                            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Starting-Point-Stables View Post
                              But I have no idea if there is a legal easement. That's what I'm trying to find out.
                              Did you get a title insurance policy when you purchased the property? It will outline ALL easements and other recorded documents which create an interest in your land (that is what they are there for!). If there has been a recorded easement (reserved by a deed, or any other way recorded in the records) it WILL show in “Schedule B” of your title insurance policy.

                              If there is NOT a recorded easement shown, and it is found that there IS a recorded easement affecting your property – Well then, you would have a claim against your title insurance company.

                              Some title polices (ALTA extended) will also insure against “off record matters” and if you have this type of policy, and the easement was not disclosed to you (whether recorded or not, they should have inspected the land to see if anyone else was using it, and secure an affidavit from the seller stating if anyone has any off record rights to the land) – then you have a claim.
                              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                You're going to have to talk to a local real estate atty. to get a definitive answer.

                                If the easement is granted by a deed and the user is a good faith purchaser for value then the easement is theirs and I don't know of any way to strip them of title.

                                If, however, this is an Easement by Necessity then there could be a very different outcome. These are easements for access to landlocked property. They are often the result of litigation, but may be established by negotiation. As the name implies they are granted because they are necessary if the owner of the landlocked property is to have reasonable enjoyment of their estate. If the necessity ends then does the easement end? I don't know; that will depend on local law.

                                It will cost you a few bucks to get the answer in a title opinion from an attorney but it may be the most efficient way to get a definitive answer.

                                G.
                                Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  If I follow your situation and the access road that runs on the back part of your property was there when you bought your property and it is a legally recorded “Egress/Ingress easement” it would have to be written into the Deed to your property. As others have said it would also show up on the survey of your property. If not then it may have been a “gentleman’s agreement” with the former owner that runs year to year. But even these agreements should be written down. And the former owner should have talked about it. I assume it was there when you bought the property did you talk about it?
                                  I believe you will need a “tax parcel number” which you should be able to get from the township/town/city etc recorder based on the address. With this number you should be able to look up the deeds and then look for Egress/Ingress easements. There will be a specific paragraph addressing these. If there are any utility easements, phone and electric from the street, they will be addressed and would be noted on a survey also. Each state has different real-estate laws so even a gentlemen’s agreement maybe binding especially if it had been “understood” and not contested for many years. The fact that the owner of the land locked property is not any more strengthens you case. It is my understanding that a lot of states will force a Egress/Ingress easement on property owners giving/granting relief to a land locked property owner. The best advise any of us should give you is to contract a real-estate attorney and pay for a consultation. It should not cost that much especially if you come with all of the documentation. Your Deed and the Deeds to the surrounding properties. Let us know how you make out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    If "Jones family" never re-plotted the two seperate land purchases they made with the "Smith Family" into a single track then the first purchase is still land locked ...but even worse...if the Jones had been maintaining that little dirt road over teh Smith's land; there is a pretty good chance they own the right-of-way now since you are unable to locate a formal grant of easement

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
                                      You're going to have to talk to a local real estate atty. to get a definitive answer.

                                      If the easement is granted by a deed and the user is a good faith purchaser for value then the easement is theirs and I don't know of any way to strip them of title.

                                      If, however, this is an Easement by Necessity then there could be a very different outcome. These are easements for access to landlocked property. They are often the result of litigation, but may be established by negotiation. As the name implies they are granted because they are necessary if the owner of the landlocked property is to have reasonable enjoyment of their estate. If the necessity ends then does the easement end? I don't know; that will depend on local law.

                                      It will cost you a few bucks to get the answer in a title opinion from an attorney but it may be the most efficient way to get a definitive answer.

                                      G.
                                      OP- G. is correct. Easements arise in many different manners, and in order to get a definitive answer, you will need to consult with a land use/ real estate attorney.

                                      Sorry. The answer you seek may not be ascertainable through the registry of deeds -ie the easement may not have been created by grant or reservation. Good luck.
                                      Unrepentant carb eater

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