When an area is landlocked, it means that a property doesn’t have direct access to the street, so the only way to get to and from the property is by crossing into land that is owned by another person. If a landlocked issue is currently something you or a loved one is dealing with, an attorney, like Timothy Kassouni, an easement lawyer in California, can explain how you have two options. The first option is that you can talk directly with the other landowner and work together to create terms for an easement agreement. Then, you’d submit this easement to the court for final approval. Or, you can file paperwork directly to the court if you do not have a great relationship with your neighbor. 

Don’t Rely On Verbal Agreements

Unfortunately, sometimes relationships turn sour. Perhaps you had a great dynamic with your neighbor but had a falling out. It may be no surprise to then realize that your neighbor doesn’t want you crossing into their land anymore. That is why an attorney strongly suggests getting the easement agreement written on paper and having both parties sign the document. Do not rely on verbal agreements when it comes to an awkward property line divide. 

The Cons of Having Landlocked Property

If you have landlocked property, you may have already been met with some challenges. Lenders may decline loans to build or improve upon landlocked homes. The reason for this is because there is a lack of access to public streets, so it would be more difficult for police, ambulance, and firefighters to get to the home if the occupants were ever in need of help. 

Categories of Easements

When an easement is granted, this is a legal provision that enables landlocked property owners to cross on another’s land without technically “trespassing”. An informal approval from one neighbor to the other to walk on his or her land is not a legally binding contract. The most dependable easements are those that are established by the court, or created by both owners and then filed to the city. Here are the three easement types: 

Easement by Implication

If the landowner sells the landlocked area of the property, by law the new owner is given the right to cross, whether it is written explicitly in the contract or not. This easement is then passed to each new owner. 

Easement by Prescription

The owner of a property that is landlocked may use the other’s land without permission, in which that landowner does nothing about it. This is referred to as easement by prescription. If the use continues long-term, the landlocked owner actually obtains a prescriptive easement, which can be passed down from owner to owner after that.

Easement by Necessity

If the owner of the landlocked home can’t gain access to their property any other way except for crossing another’s land, then he or she may file a suit to have the right to gain access. This is usually a last resort option.

Contact an attorney right now if you are concerned about an easement issue.