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How Do Easements Affect Real Estate Transactions and Litigation?

 Posted on May 31, 2021 in Real Estate

Real estate transactions can be very complicated, and there are multiple types of legal issues that buyers and sellers will want to be aware of. Easements are one issue that will affect how a piece of property can be used. If easements are not properly disclosed during a transaction, real estate litigation may be required to address this issue.

Understanding Easements

An easement is a legal agreement that gives a person, company, or organization the right to use someone else’s property. Easements come in several forms, including:

  • Public easements - A portion of a person’s property may be set aside for public use. These easements may address utilities, ensuring that the government or private utility companies can access a property to install or repair power lines, water lines, or other types of utilities.
  • Private easements - A private individual may be given permission to use someone else’s property for certain purposes. For example, a person may have been granted the right to hunt and fish on someone else’s property, or a person may have been allowed to enter a neighbor’s property to access a lake or river.
  • Easements by necessity - A person may need to cross over another person’s property to enter their own property. These easements can ensure that a person will not be denied access to property that is landlocked.

Some easements may apply to a piece of property, and they will remain in effect after the property is sold. In other cases, easements may be granted to a person or organization, and these will usually remain in effect as long as the original owner owns the property. Easements may be affirmative, meaning that they grant permission to use the property for specific purposes, or they may be negative, meaning that they restrict the property owner from making changes to the property, such as constructing a building that will block a neighbor’s access to the property or their view. 

In Wisconsin, easements recorded after July 1, 1980, have a statute of limitations of 40 years. This means that easements recorded after July 1, 1980, become unenforceable after 40 years have passed since the date they were originally recorded. For easements recorded before July 1, 1980, the statute of limitations is 60 years. Regardless of when the original easement was recorded, easements may be re-recorded before they expire, which will extend the expiration date for 40 years after the date they were re-recorded.

Contact Our Milwaukee Real Estate Litigation Lawyers

If you need to address easements when buying or selling property, or if you need to pursue real estate litigation to address your rights regarding easements as a property owner, Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can provide you with legal representation. We will make sure you understand your rights, and we will advocate on your behalf during a transaction or in the courtroom to help you reach an outcome that will allow you to use your property as you intend. Contact our Milwaukee, WI real estate attorneys at 414-271-1440.





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