Easements and Covenants

An easement is right of one property owner to use the land of another for a special purpose.  Easements may be be ingress and egress, utilities, access to a common area, a well, lateral support, maintenance, drainage or storm water runoff, or for light and air.  Easements may be express easements set forth in a deed or plat, or they may be implied easements created under the circumstances such as the passage of time, continuous use, or by necessity.  Even when an easement is clearly established, the scope, manner, and use of an easement and the obligation to repair and maintain the easement can still be uncertain and the source of disputes between the holder of the easement and the owner of the servient estate.  One can bring an action for trespass if someone interferes with the easement or if the scope of the easement is improperly extended.
Similar to an easement, a license is the permissive use on another’s property and is generally revocable.  Under some circumstances, a license could ripen into an irrevocable easement.  Therefore, a landowner should take particular care to protect their property interests when granting a license to ensure that it does not ripen into an easement.
A restrictive covenant typically burdens the land and sets limits on the use of the burdened property.  Although covenants typically arise in the context of Property Owners Associations and Condominium Associations, covenants can apply in many other scenarios such as covenants between neighbors, covenants not to compete, environmental covenants, options to sell or rights of first refusal.  Even if you do not belong to a Property Owners Association, a third-person may have the right to enforce a covenants against your property.   Although covenants and easements may be personal to particular individuals, covenants and easements typically run with the land and can be binding onto future property owners. They may be of indefinite duration, abandoned or restricted by law.
If you have any questions about your rights, duties and options regarding easements, licenses and covenants, please contact David Ellison today.  As a real estate litigation attorney serving Athens, Bogart, Commerce, Danielsville, Greensboro, Lexington, Jefferson, Madison, Statham, Watkinsville, Winder, Barrow County, Banks County, Greene County, Jackson County, Franklin County, Madison County, Morgan County, Oconee County, and Oglethorpe County, he will develop a strategy to protect your property interests.