Everything You Need to Know About Easements

An easement is the right to use the land of another for a special purpose which is not inconsistent with the general rights of the owner.   There are a number of different types of easements which can be created in a number of different ways.

Weaver Bennett & Bland has successfully represented various property owners in numerous different disputes involving property rights and the various types of easements. Recently, the firm was involved in the case of Jeffrey A. Adelman v. Leroy Gantt, 795 S.E.2d 798, rehearing denied.  This case involved a two-foot wide strip of property.  Approximately two feet of the concrete driveway between the two property owners’ homes was actually owned by the Defendant Gantt.  The Defendant Gantt constructed a chain link fence along the property line in the concrete driveway which made Plaintiff’s use of the driveway extremely difficult.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court  in finding that the Plaintiff had established an easement by prior use by presenting evidence that (1) there had been a common ownership of the dominant and servient parcels of land in the past and a subsequent transfer had separated the original tract into the dominant and servient parcels (2) that prior to the transfer, the original owner had used part of the original tract for the benefit of the other part, and that this use was apparent, continuous, and permanent; and (3) that the claimed easement was necessary  to the use and enjoyment of the Plaintiff’s land.

In addition to finding an “easement by implied use,” the Court of Appeals also found that the Plaintiff had established an “easement by necessity” by presenting evidence that (1) the claimed dominant parcel and the claimed servient parcel had been held in common ownership which had ended by a transfer of a portion of the original parcel; and (2) as a result of the transfer of the servient parcel, it became necessary of the Plaintiff to have the easement.

The Court found that the Plaintiff had presented competent evidence that the granting of the easement by the Court was essential to the reasonable use and enjoyment of his property.  The Court noted that the Plaintiff was not required to show absolute necessity, but that it was sufficient for the Plaintiff to show physical conditions and use that would reasonably lead someone to believe that the grantee of Plaintiff’s parcel intended that the Plaintiff should have the right of access. The Court went on to say that easements by necessity are the result of a presumption that when a party conveys property, it is presumed that the grantor intends to convey what is necessary for the beneficial use of the property.

Weaver Bennett & Bland P.A. has the experience to help you with problems related to the use and ownership of real property.  Call our firm at 704-844-1400 for a free consultation.