Easements are a right of use in someone else's land. In some cases, they benefit one landowner while burdening another. Often, they run with the land, which means that they will remain on the deed when a property is sold. There are many different types of easements. One common example is a utility easement, which benefits utility companies so that they can maintain telephone poles or wiring. When you are buying a house, it is important to be aware of any easements that benefit or burden the property. At Pulgini & Norton, our real estate lawyers can help people in Boston or the surrounding cities understand their rights and obligations in connection with easements.The Effect of Utility Easements
Utility easements allow a utility company to use parts of your property in order to provide services. They are often used for underground or above ground utilities, or when a company must access utility lines in order to repair or maintain them. For example, if you are provided with electricity at a condominium, the utility company may have an easement to walk onto your lawn in order to repair a damaged line outside. Utility companies with easements include electricity and water. Similarly, properties sometimes have easements for railroad tracks or easements for pipelines to move water between neighbors.
Chapter 187 covers the law of easements in Massachusetts. Section 5 deals with the installation of public utility services for owners abutting private ways. Under Section 5, an owner who has rights of ingress or egress upon a private way also has a right by implication to place pipes or conduits or other items necessary in order to transmit gas, electricity, water, telephone, or sewer services. This right exists as long as the facilities do not unreasonably block the private way or interfere with any existing rights of use. The placement or construction has to be done in accord with the utility company's regulations, as well as those of the city, town, or district that provides the service.
When a utility easement is granted, only certain rights are granted. An easement solely for access to repair or install an electrical wire would not give a repairman the right to be on your property for any other purpose, such as parking cars or beach access. An easement for access and utilities probably would not include an easement for purposes of walking to another private neighbor's lot, for example.
An easement is limited to serving the property to which it is granted. This means that your neighbor may have an easement for purposes of having a utility company repair a wire, but your neighbor would not have the ability to grant a right of access on your land to some other private party.Understand Your Rights as a Property Owner by Consulting a Boston Lawyer
The experienced property transactions attorneys at Pulgini & Norton can help Boston residents understand any limitations on how they can use their property. We can conduct title examinations and make relevant inquiries as to utility easements and any other easements. We also represent clients in Braintree, Quincy, Newton, and other cities in Massachusetts. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us via our online form for a consultation.