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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2020

    Default Easement Transfer

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Pennsylvania

    1. Father owns 235 acres of land that has been in the family's name for more than a century. A near 50/50 mix of farm and forest land.
    2. Approximately 5 years ago, Father sold 10 acres of forest land to a friend and his wife. The 10 acres are landlocked inside Father's property with no public roads accessing it. Just a logging road through Father's property. Right of way was not put into the deed for these 10 acres. The right of way was agreed separately between Father and friend through an easement. It was intentionally left out of the deed to discourage friend/wife from selling their 10 acres to other people that he did not know.
    3. Father dies three years ago, Daughter inherits the 225 acres. Friend who bought the 10 acres also dies soon after and the 10-acre property then belongs to just his wife.
    4. The Wife of the deceased friend sells the 10 acres to someone else this past July.

    Does the easement agreement between father and friend transfer to these new owners of the 10 acres? Can we legally deny any all access for the new owners to reach their landlocked property?

    As you can suspect from the questions, we are already having issues with these new owners, something exactly that Father wanted to prevent.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2013

    Default Re: Easement Transfer

    If the easement agreement was never recorded and there is no documentation that it was made you can try to prohibit access. But in the end you will lose and it will cost you or the estate a large sum of money to resolve.

    The history you spelled out is a classic example of subdividing property and creating a parcel that is sold off and is landlocked. In fact, it was landlocked on purpose. It is not in the public interest to create landlocked property. All property should be put to its best use.

    The person that bought the 10 acres is surely entitled to an easement by necessity as a matter of law. You can negotiate an easement with the new owner or you can wait for the owner to sue for quiet title. And they will.

    Courts will recognize an easement by necessity when the following facts exist:
    •At one time, both parcels of land were either joined together or were owned by the same owner;
    •Subsequently, the property became divided (e.g., the property owner sold a portion of the land). Different individuals obtained ownership of different parcels. Through the division, one parcels was created that was accidentally landlocked; and
    •The person whose land is landlocked can only reasonably and practicably access their property by going through the other person’s property.

    IMO the outcome will be the same. The owners of the 10 acres will get an easement. The right thing to do is to grant an easement (in writing and recorded) that is the same as what was agreed to between the father and the friend.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Easement Transfer

    Easements, whether written into the property deed or separate usually run with the land. You'd need to bring all the documentation to an attorney (or let him search the recorded records) to know for sure.
    If there was a prior easement that didn't specifically state it terminated on sale, it most likely still exists even if your deed from your father didn't mention it.

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