An easement, often called a “right of way,” is a complex facet of property rights law. Basically, easements provide a right to use or access particular land for some particular purpose; it is a grant of permission (not ownership interest) provided to the easement holder. There are several different types of easements; the type depends on the specific reason(s) it is needed as well as which property is the property to benefit. A commercial easement provides a legal right between one property owner and another for land to be used for business-related functions. A commercial easement can serve many purposes and provide different benefits, including things like allowing company trucks from one business to travel across the property of another business in order to deliver goods and products or allowing a commercial entity to have electrical wiring throughout an area of another so electricity is accessible there.

The specific nature of commercial easement rights can often be unclear, resulting in easement disputes. Easement disputes can result in significant negative outcomes for either the property owners, the easement holders, or both. Because of this, disputes often require the involved parties to take legal action to resolve their issues and ensure that their rights and interests are protected. 

In general, there are three main types of easements. They are:

  1. Easement in Gross: an easement in which property is solely involved, without considering or addressing the rights of owners

A dispute involving an easement in grows might be regarding undisclosed utility lines that pass beneath a property that could require that the easement be moved, or that the title insurer of the property pay some amount to address the reduced value of the property due to the easement.

  1. Easement appurtenant: an easement that allows for the use by one party of a portion of one property for access to another area 

A dispute regarding an easement appurtenant might deal with a parcel of land with no public access that is demonstrably needed for providing access to one party’s property beyond that parcel.

  1. Prescriptive easements: an easement that arises if one party uses a portion of another’s property freely but without permission

A dispute that might arise relating to a prescriptive easement is when an owner of rural land does not realize that part of their land is being used by another party without the owner’s knowledge or permission.

Commercial easements are generally created by deed conveyance; they are legally binding written contracts between one property owner and another party interested in [partial] use of his or her property. If a dispute over an easement arises, one could take certain actions towards resolution, depending on the specifics of the case. Some possible actions include filing an injunction such that the court could restrict and terminate the rights of the easement holder to use it, or seeking monetary damages that might be owed for any loss of property value that results from unreasonable use by the easement holder.

If you are involved in an easement dispute, you should consult with an experienced, competent commercial real estate attorney to discuss your rights and legal options. Reeves Law can help ensure that your rights and interests are upheld. Contact an attorney at Reeves Law today for a free consultation with a member of the Austin, Texas-based legal team.