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What does an easement mean for my property?

Some home purchases come with a surprise hidden in the deed. Most of the time, small contractual matters are no big deal for buyers in Virginia. However, you may understandably want to know how it affects you if you buy a home and later find out there is an easement attached to the property.

As SFGate explains, easements pertain to a certain area on a property that others may legally access, usually for maintenance or utility purposes. For example, your title may outline an easement in your side yard where underground power cables are located. This gives utility workers the right to access this area, as well as to dig or remove landscaping as needed to perform maintenance and repairs or to add or remove cable equipment. You may have a similar easement in the corner of your front yard, where a telephone pole is located. Utility workers should be allowed on this area of your property without your permission, even if you have a fence around the yard.

If you want to make changes to your property, an easement may affect this as well. Negative easements prohibit changes that would negatively impact others, such as obstructing your neighbor’s scenic view by building a tree house in your backyard.

The existence of easements on your property may seem annoying, but they are usually there to serve a useful purpose and are not meant to overly inconvenience you. However, some easements become outdated and unnecessary. You may wish to seek professional counsel about an easement on your deed that you believe should not be there.

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Madigan and Scott, Inc.
7880 Backlick Road
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Springfield, VA 22150

Phone: 703-455-1800
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