Easements are a common occurrence in Texas property law, and they are defined as a right, privilege, or advantage that exists independently of ownership rights in real property. An easement, in most cases, allows for the usage of land in a specific way.
What are the different types of easements?
Easement by Express Grant: this type of easement is created by the parties’ express agreement and follows the formalities of Texas real estate instruments. Express easements must be in writing, signed by the party to be charged, and express the intent to grant with an acceptable legal description. They must also be acknowledged and properly delivered.
Easement by Prescription: an easement by prescription is one that a plaintiff has secured and held against the landowner’s wishes. The right to the easement must meet the following requirements:
- Use of the easement must be adverse, open, notorious, and hostile to the interest of the landowner.
- The easement must be used exclusively by the claimant and not open to the public or qualify as a joint use easement.
- The easement use must be uninterrupted and continuous for a period of at least 10 years.
Easement by Estoppel: a claimant may seek an easement by estoppel if they rely in good faith on a property owner’s oral agreement to an easement that is later retracted. The claimant must be able to demonstrate that:
- Promise of easement was communicated to the claimant.
- They believed the promise.
- They can demonstrate disadvantages if relying on the promise to their disadvantage, such as by spending funds that will not be recovered if the promise is revoked.
Easement by Implication: an easement by implication frequently happens when a landowner abruptly cuts off access to an easement that has been in continuous use for some time. The past usage must be clear and unambiguous, reasonably consistent, and required for the claimant to have fair use of his or her own property. Prior to the establishment of the easement, the claimant must demonstrate that the two estates were formerly held as one.
Easement by Necessity: an easement by necessity must prove there is only one way to access the property and that:
- There was joint ownership between the two properties.
- It is necessary to obtain access.
- The necessity existed at the time of the property severance.
Easement law in Texas is complicated and negotiating the many forms of easements requires knowledge and skill. If you have any questions regarding the validity of your easement, we invite you to contact us to speak with a board-certified real estate attorney. Our number is 713-572-4900.