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What Is an Easement in Rhode Island Real Estate Law?

The term easement frequently comes up in Rhode Island property law cases. In the most general terms, an easement is a legal term referring to a non-owner’s right to use another’s property, usually for a specific purpose. For example, a property owner who owns land that is near the beach may have an easement over another property owner’s land to gain access to a beach. This is called a beach access easement.

There are many facets of Rhode Island easement law; however, it is beneficial to first understand the two types of easements: easements appurtenant and easements in gross. An easement appurtenant is tied to a particular parcel of land and remains with the land through changes in ownership. An easement in gross, on the other hand, is assigned to a particular person, business, or entity, and cannot be sold, transferred, or given away.

An easement can come into existence in several ways. Some easements are created based on an agreement between parties, whereas others are issued by courts as a result of a Rhode Island property dispute. A few common types of Rhode Island easement definitions will be discussed below.

Express easements: As the name entails, an express easement is created by specific language contained in a written instrument, usually a contract or deed.

Prescriptive easements: A prescriptive easement is granted by the court and does not require the permission of the landowner. Instead, the party seeking the easement must show that they have been using the land in an actual, open, notorious, hostile and continuous manner for at least the past ten years. A party typically seeks the type of an easement after a landowner attempts to restrict access that had previously been allowed.

Easement by necessity: This type of easement is granted when a parcel of land is divided, and the easement is “reasonably necessary for the convenient and comfortable enjoyment of the property.

A landowner may have a Rhode Island easement issue if a party holding an easement uses the landowner’s property for a non-specified use, or abandons the easement by not using it for a period of time. For example, in a recent Rhode Island property law case, the court held that an easement holder abandoned a driveway easement when they demolished the driveway and rebuilt it over their own property. The court explained it was “hard pressed to envision a more decisive act of abandonment than relocating the very driveway over which the easement runs.”

Alternatively, an easement holder may bring a claim for injunctive relief against a property owner who interferes with their use of the easement. Anyone who has a Rhode Island easement issue, or any other property law concern, should contact a dedicated Rhode Island property law attorney for advice and assistance.

Are You Involved in a Property Dispute?

If you are currently involved in a Rhode Island property dispute, contact the experienced Rhode Island real estate attorneys at the law firm of Bilodeau Capalbo. At Bilodeau Capalbo, we have extensive experience assisting clients with a wide range of Rhode Island real estate law issues, including easement disputes. We can also research the title of a property to ensure that there are no unknown encumbrances. We provide free consultations to prospective clients in which we can explain how we may be able to help resolve your dispute. To learn more, call 401-300-4055 to schedule your free consultation today.

See Related Posts:

Rhode Island Court Hears Property Dispute Between Neighbors, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2018.

How Do Courts Divide Assets in a Rhode Island Divorce?, Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer Blog, January 29, 2019.

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