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Real Property Learning Set 4
Terms in this set (8)
To acquire a prescriptive easement on property, the claimant's use does not need to be ____________.
open and notorious
If an easement is said to be surcharged, this means:
The easement's legal scope was exceeded
Which of the following acts will terminate an easement?
Voluntary destruction of the servient estate.
Nonuse of the easement for the statutory period.
Condemnation of the servient estate.
Use of the easement beyond its legal scope.
Condemnation of the servient estate will terminate an easement. The easement holder may be entitled to compensation for the value lost.
Is a long period of nonuse sufficient to terminate an easement?
Yes, if it accompanied by other evidence of intent to abandon the easement
(e.g., the easement holder erects a permanent structure blocking off the easement). However, a long period of nonuse on its own, even if it continues for the statutory period, is insufficient to constitute abandonment.
A landowner owned a large parcel of land in a rural area. He built his home on the northern half of the property, and developed a large orchard of fruit trees on the southern portion. A county road ran in front of the northern portion. To service his orchard, the landowner built a driveway directly from the county road across the northern portion of the property to the orchard. To provide electricity to his house, the landowner ran an overhead power line across the orchard property to hook up to the only available electric power pole located on the far southern side of the property.
Subsequently, the landowner conveyed the northern parcel to his brother and the southern parcel to his daughter, who said that she did not mind having the power line on the property. Recently, the brother has begun parking his car on the driveway, thus blocking the daughter's access to the southern parcel. Finding no recorded document granting an easement for the power line, the daughter has decided to remove it.
If the brother is successful in preventing the daughter from removing the power line, what is the likely reason?
The brother's alternative access to power is much less convenient and would cost 100 times as much.
If the brother is successful in preventing the daughter from removing the power lines, it will be because the brother's alternative access to power is much less convenient and would cost 100 times as much as the current arrangement. This helps to prove that there was an easement implied by operation of law ("quasi-easement"). An easement may be implied if, prior to the time the tract is divided, a use exists on the "servient part" that is reasonably necessary for the enjoyment of the "dominant part," and a court determines that the parties intended the use to continue after division of the property. To give rise to an easement, a use must be apparent and continuous at the time the tract is divided. In this case, the landowner used the servient part of his property (the southern parcel) to run an overhead power line to the dominant part of his property (the northern parcel). Overhead wires are clearly visible and would be readily discoverable on reasonable inspection. The lines are, therefore, apparent. The use must also be reasonably necessary. Whether a use is reasonably necessary depends on many factors, including the cost and difficulty of the alternatives. This use was reasonably necessary to the enjoyment of the dominant parcel because electricity is important to the enjoyment of the property, and the cost (100 times as much) and difficulty of the alternatives are excessive. Thus, the fact that the use of the southern parcel is reasonably necessary would bolster the brother's case. (A) is wrong because the daughter's actual knowledge is irrelevant. The daughter need not be aware of the use; it need only be shown that the use was apparent (see above).
A landowner and her neighbor owned adjoining parcels of land. The landowner's property was situated to the west of the neighbor's property. A highway ran along the east of the neighbor's property. Twelve years ago, the landowner asked the neighbor if it would be all right for the landowner to use an eight-foot strip along the northern part of the neighbor's land to access the highway. The only other way for the landowner to get to the highway was to use a one-lane unpaved road that meandered through the woods for two miles. The neighbor agreed, and the landowner used the strip of land regularly to access the highway. The statutory period for adverse possession in this jurisdiction is 10 years.
What is the landowner's interest in the neighbor's eight-foot strip of land?
Not an easement
The landowner's interest in the neighbor's eight-foot strip of land is not an easement. In effect, the landowner only has a "license" (i.e., a revocable privilege) to use the land. The answer is best reached by the process of elimination. Because an easement is an interest in land, the Statute of Frauds applies. Here, the agreement between the landowner and the neighbor was not in writing; thus, the Statute of Frauds requirements for the creation of an express easement were not met.
A retiree purchased a rustic cabin on a small plot of land near the center of a landowner's large parcel of land. The deed to the land, which the landowner delivered to the retiree for fair consideration, did not specifically grant an easement over the landowner's property to reach the public highway bordering her land. There were two means of access to the cabin from the public roads: a driveway from the county road on the south, and a private road from the highway on the east. The landowner told the retiree that he could use the private road from the highway. Twice during his first two years at the cabin, the retiree took the driveway from the county road instead; at all other times he used the private road.
At the end of his second year at the cabin, the retiree began reading tarot cards to supplement his retirement income. He had a steady stream of clients coming to his home at all hours of the day and night. Most of the clients came in on the driveway from the county road, which ran close to the landowner's home. The landowner objected, and told the retiree that neither he nor his clients had any right to use that driveway and that they must use the private road from the highway. The retiree refused, and he and his clients continued to use the driveway from the county road for three years. Finally, the landowner began blocking off the driveway from the county road. The retiree brought suit to enjoin this practice. The prescriptive period in this jurisdiction is five years.
Who will most likely prevail?
The landowner, because she may select the location of the easement.
The landowner will prevail in a suit because she, as the holder of the servient estate, has the right to choose the location of an easement by necessity. An easement by necessity arises when the owner of a tract of land sells a part of the tract and by this division deprives one lot of access to a public road or utility line. The owner of the servient parcel has the right to locate the easement, provided the location is reasonably convenient. The landowner has chosen the private road from the highway; thus, the retiree has no right to use the driveway from the county road.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS QUESTION
A landowner owned a large tract of land, which he divided into two parcels. The northern parcel abutted a public highway. The shortest route from the southern parcel to the highway was over a private road that crossed the northern parcel. The other route was over a single-lane dirt and gravel path that wound for over four miles through the woods. The landowner sold the southern parcel to a developer, including an express easement in the private road across the northern parcel. The landowner knew of the developer's plans to open an inn on the property. The developer built the inn but never opened it to the public.
Fifteen years later, the developer sold the southern parcel to an investor, who planned to open the inn to the public. The developer had never properly recorded her deed to the land, but the investor promptly recorded her deed, which made no mention of a right to cross the northern parcel via the private road. About a week after the investor took possession of the southern parcel, she learned of the provision in the developer's deed to the land. However, the landowner refuses to grant the investor permission to use the road across his property to reach the highway.
Does the investor have a right to cross the northern parcel?
Yes, even if the developer never exercised her right to use the easement when she owned the southern parcel
The investor has an easement to cross the northern parcel even if the developer never exercised her right to use the easement. The original easement granted to the developer was an easement appurtenant, the benefit of which passes with a transfer of the benefited land. An easement is deemed appurtenant when the right of special use benefits the easement holder in her physical use or enjoyment of another tract of land. The land subject to the easement is the servient tenement, while the land having the benefit of the easement is the dominant tenement. The benefit of an easement appurtenant passes with transfers of the benefited land, regardless of whether the easement is mentioned in the conveyance. All who possess or subsequently succeed to title to the dominant tenement are entitled to the benefit of the easement. The easement granted to the developer was an easement appurtenant because the right to use the private road across the northern parcel (the servient tenement) benefited the developer in her use and enjoyment of the southern parcel (the dominant tenement) by providing her with the most convenient access to the public highway. Thus, when the developer sold the benefited land to the investor, the benefit of the easement also passed to the investor as an incident of possession of the southern parcel. (A) is incorrect because, as explained above, this benefit passed to the investor despite the fact that the deed to the investor made no mention of the easement. The failure to record does not affect the validity of the easement. Recordation is not essential to the validity of a deed, but only serves to protect the interests of a grantee against subsequent purchasers. Here, the dispute is between the original grantor and the successor of the original easement holder. The purpose of most recording statutes is to provide notice to a burdened party. The person who granted the easement is in no need of notice. The only relevance of recording in this situation is with respect to the servient tenement, the northern parcel
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