Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    22

    Default Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: North Carolina

    Hi,
    There's a landlocked property on my street that had an ingress & egress easement for over 30 years (since it was subdivided). 30+ years later, the property in front through which the easement passed was sold to a new owner. She somehow convinced the landlocked property owner to convey the easement back to her when she purchased. So even though her deed at property purchase lists the easement in it, the next day a separate deed was recorded with the landlocked property owner, in which the landlocked property (grantor) granted the easement to her (grantee) in fee simple.

    IF that's a valid deed, then the landlocked property no longer had an easement and for the next 15+ years was traversing through the lady's property by handshake agreement.

    Is this valid/legal? It makes no sense that most banks wouldn't let you purchase a landlocked property without an easement but if you can manipulate the owner into giving up their rights, anything goes and an attorney can do that? That totally screws the next owner, assuming the property can even be successfully sold.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,718

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    So the owner of the lot in concern willingly and knowingly relinquished the only legal access to her property? Have you spoken with her to inquire why she did this? There could be a underlying issue in play you’re not aware of.


    while it makes things problematic, if taken to court, it is highly probable the relinquishment would be overturned. I haven’t researched state specific laws but in general, states do not approve of creating landlocked property and when there is landlocked property, an easement by necessity is often forced upon the tenement the landlocked parcel was split from.


    But beyond that, the deed itself is odd. The dominant tenant of an easement does not hold fee simple title to the land and as such, cannot convey fee simple title to another. They hold nothing more than the rights granted in whatever document created the easement and any applicable law.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    Thanks for your response. That's right, the owner of the landlocked lot, Ken, relinquished the only legal access to his property to the purchaser of the servient estate, Barbara. I've not been able to locate Ken yet, but I just finished talking to his sister. His sister provided good context but didn't want to give me Ken's contact info because, in her words, he's not in good health and this would just exacerbate things. His sister said she owned another neighboring property to Ken's at the time (both Ken's and his sister's properties were subdivided from one large historical lot), and so she simply let him use her property. Also from other neighbors, I have learned that Ken continued to use Barbara's property (formerly the easement) in exchange for maintaining her yard. Ken's sister described Barbara as very pushy and said she would not purchase the property while there was an easement on it.

    To your point about the deed being odd, that was exactly my thought. How can the dominant estate (Ken at the time) grant a parcel of land that he never owned to Barbara? It was already Barbara's property. I hope this is more than semantics and actually means the deed was not validly drawn up and there is still a valid easement. Here's the exact wording from the deed between Ken (Grantor) and Barbara (Grantee):

    "The Grantor, for a valuable consideration paid by the Grantee, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, has and by these presents does grant, bargain, sell and covey unto the Grantee in fee simple, all that certain lot or parcel of land affiliated in the City of XXXX and more particularly described as follows:

    Right of way across Grantees property as originally conveyed in Deed XXXX to the property of Grantor located north of Grantee's property on XXXX Avenue. This right-of-way ran alongside the western line of the property."

    What do you think?

    Edit: also I don't believe Barbara actually paid anything to Ken. There is no $ amount listed in the deed and Ken's sister wasn't aware of one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,718

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    Valuable consideration doesn’t have to be money. It is anything the recipient deems valuable.

    Anyway, what’s your interest in the property? That can push the discussion one way or another


    And did you mean ken thereafter accessed his property through his sisters lot?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    Neighbors told me that Ken continued to use the easement driveway in exchange for maintaining it for Barbara, but he did have access through his sister's property too if needed.

    I'm the current owner of what was formerly Ken's sister's property (fast forward 20 years and 3 owners later). When Ken's sister sold she created a new easement on her lot for her brother, and the next year her brother sold the landlocked property. The owners of the landlocked property are relatives of the property in front (through which the original easement ran), so while there wasn't a merger of properties, they continued to use that driveway to access the road, not the new easement Ken's sister created simply because the driveway was the most direct path to the road and was completely unobstructed. The result of this is that subsequent owners of the sister's property (currently mine) obstructed the new easement with privacy bushes, fence, greenhouse, trees, etc. The landlocked property has sued me to take down all obstructions claiming it's an easement of necessity and they have no other access. There are a lot more details but the main thing I'm dealing with is that the dominant estate continues to use the driveway of the original easement so there's actually no need for them to use the new easement, and the dominant estate has admitted to bringing the lawsuit purely for financial gain. They anticipate selling the landlocked property soon and want there to be a nice clean driveway to it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,718

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    Sorry. It it’s beyond an easement of necessity. If kens sister granted an easement It is an express easement and wholly enforceable. If you purchased the property with the hope the owner of kens property wouldn’t use it, well, don’t buy lottery tickets today.

    The the fact ken was permitted to use Barbara’s drive does not extinguish the granted easement across your lot.

    So, your problem isn’t arguing the other easement is valid. That is irrelevant as long as there is a valid easement across your property. They don’t have to accept an alternative route if they have a valid and legal route across your property. I think you’ll lose this, especially because of how it all played out. Kens sister simoly didn’t gave to grant an easement but she did.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    Thanks for your help and advice. One more question: I've been doing a title search today and just found that when Ken sold his property in 1999, he conveyed the original easement to the purchaser AND the new easement through my property to the purchaser (both easements were conveyed). The conveyance was done through a general warranty deed, whereas the conveyance to Barbara giving up the original easement was done in 1983 via a non-warranty/quitclaim deed.

    In other words, 16 years later Ken somehow conveyed the easement he supposedly previously gave up to the new purchaser of his property. Does that make any sense? Which deed is then legitimate? This is important because in the lawsuit against me Plaintiff is saying they need this easement and there's no other access, but if the whole time they've had valid access and continue to use it, it goes to unclean hands and makes other defenses stronger, like laches (sitting on their rights) because they've allowed all obstructions for over 19 years.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,718

    Default Re: Is It Legal to Terminate an Access Easement to a Landlocked Property

    He couldn’t convey what he held no rights to. The buyer may have had an action against ken but that wouldn’t make the easement valid again. I suggest it was an error when whomever created the deed simply copied it from the deed ken received when he purchased the property not aware the easement had been relinquished in the interim.

    what have the subsequent deeds conveying kens property said of the easement across Barbara’s property?


    Since there is no easement across Barbara’s land and the use appears to be permissive negating any claim of a prescriptive easement of adverse possessions, should the easement across your land be denied, what would you expect the neighbor to do? They have no legal easement so they would have to sue to to seek an easement. The problem with rhat is the easement was willingly relinquished years ago and a substitute easement granted across your property.

    A court May be upset at your suggestion it ignore an existing documented easement and demand the plaintiffs initiate an action against the owners of Barbara’s property. There is no need to change anything that exists.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Creation of an Easement: Neighbors Won't Sell an Access Easement for a Landlocked Parcel
    By Yell County Arkansas in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-16-2014, 12:32 PM
  2. Termination of an Easement: Ending an Easement if Landlocked Parcel Gains Additional Access
    By FESTUS1970 in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 03-17-2012, 09:44 PM
  3. Easement to Access Landlocked Property
    By jsakjd in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 06-29-2011, 09:22 AM
  4. Termination of an Easement: Landlocked Property Granted Egress Easement, No Longer Landlocked
    By Mr. Genius in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-12-2010, 05:56 PM
  5. Creation of an Easement: Access for Landlocked Property
    By breedlove_christ in forum Real Estate Ownership and Title
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-15-2007, 10:17 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources