Understanding Easement Agreements In Maryland & D.C. | TPF.legal

Disclaimer – This is not legal advice and for general informational purposes only. Please contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction for legal assistance with drafting or reviewing easement agreements.

What Is An Easement Agreement?

An easement agreement is a contract that allows the easement holder to use the land of another, in most cases for a specific purpose.

Can You Give Us An Example?

Yes. The most common example I can think of is a water or sewer line. I have reviewed quite a few Washington Sanitary and Suburban Commission (WSSC) easement agreements for clients in both Maryland and DC. Let’s say you build a new construction home. In many cases, in order for you to have access to water you will have to run a water line across your neighbor’s land. You can pay your neighbor for the right to run a water line across their land and to access their land for the limited purpose of maintaining your water line.

Why Are Easement Agreements Practically Necessary?

Easement agreements are necessary because they spell out the rights, responsibilities, and remedies of both parties. They answer important questions such as:

  • How much does the easement cost?
  • For what purpose can the easement be used?
  • What happens if the property owner breaches the agreement?
  • What happens if the easement holder breaches the agreement?

There is no right or wrong answers to the above questions. But without a written agreement, we don’t know the answer.

Why are Easement Agreements Legally Necessary?

The statute of frauds requires real estate contracts to be in writing. It’s most commonly associated with purchase and sale agreements, but it applies to any real estate agreement such as leases and easement agreements.

Why Should Easement Agreements be Recorded?

All interests in land should be recorded so it becomes a public record. This is how people are able to figure out years from now who has the right to what. Landowners or easement holders that wish to “hide” their personal name from public records can consider purchasing their land interest using entities such as a limited liability company or a revocable living trust.

Are There Other Ways to Acquire Easements other than By Agreements?

Yes. An easement agreement is a voluntary agreement between both parties. However, it is possible to get a court enforced easement called a prescriptive easement.

Who Should I Contact If I Need An Easement Agreement Drafted or Reviewed in Maryland or D.C.?

You should always contact a licensed real estate attorney in your jurisdiction. There’s two situations either:

  • You’ve been handed an need an agreement reviewed; or
  • You’ll need to create an agreement.

If you’ve been handed an easement agreement drafted by someone else then most likely it has been written in such a way where it favors their position. An attorney can help you by modifying and including terms to protect your best interest.<./p>

If you need to create an easement agreement then you shouldn’t write it yourself. An attorney can assist you by drafting a legally enforceable agreement.

In either case, real estate attorney Brian Pendergraft will be happy to assist you. 🙂

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