The great American poet Robert Frost clearly wasn’t thinking about land disputes when he penned the words “Good fences make good neighbors.” And you can’t really blame him for leaving this bit of legal clarification out. After all, it wouldn’t have had quite the same ring to it…
Nevertheless, understanding the full scope of easements can really come in handy in the event your neighbor starts encroaching on your property rights.
An easement is defined as: “a nonpossessory interest in another person’s land. The nonpossessory nature of an easement is one of its primary — and potentially confusing — characteristics. An easement is a property interest that allows the holder of the easement to use property that he or she does not own or possess.”
According to Sarasota land use attorneys:
If you are either burdened or benefited by an easement and are considering discussing with your neighbor changes to the easement area, please be sure to contact an attorney regarding your rights. A little advice will go a long way towards keeping you in Frost’s “Mending Wall,” and out of Shakespeare’s feud between the Montagues and Capulets.
In Sarasota and many other Florida beach towns, conflict over water-related access easements tend to be the most common. These cases can be:
…a dangerous land-mine for an unwitting, burdened land-owner who unilaterally gates a “walkway” easement only to eventually have to remove the gate and permit improvements for the use of boat trailers; or a heavy hammer for a benefitted owner seeking an agreement on lesser impact improvements.