Property Law

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Property Law: Refusing to Enforce Unreasonable Covenants

By statute or judicial decision, a court may declare an unreasonable covenant to be void and unenforceable. Different courts and statutes have declared covenants void for the following reasons: [more…]

How to Analyze a Covenant Dispute

You can reduce the chances of mistakes, confusion, or wasted energy by being methodical in how you analyze a covenant dispute. For example, you don’t need to waste your energy talking about whether a covenant [more…]

Distinguishing Affirmative and Negative Easements

An easement is a right a landowner intentionally or unintentionally gives to another to use or to control the use of her land in some way, without possessing it [more…]

The Difference between Easements and Licenses

By definition, an easement is an interest in land that lasts either indefinitely or for some specified period of time. A license, on the other hand, is permission to use land that can be revoked at any [more…]

The Difference between Easements and Covenants

Both easements and covenants can be affirmative or negative. However, easements are typically affirmative, giving the holder the right to use the servient land, whereas covenants are typically negative [more…]

Property Law: Express Easements

An easement exists only if the parties do something to create one. According to property law, parties can create an easement in a number of ways, including by express agreement, implying an easement by [more…]

Property Law: Avoiding the Statute of Frauds

The statute of frauds applies to easements because they’re interests in land. As with other property interests, most state statutes of frauds don’t apply to short-term interests that last for less than [more…]

Imply an Easement by Prior Use

In property law, an easement is implied by prior use when an owner has been using part of her land in an easement-like way to benefit another part of her land and then transfers one of those parts of her [more…]

Imply an Easement by Necessity

Similar to an easement implied by prior use, in property law, an easement implied by necessity, or just easement by necessity, is created only when a landowner divides her land among two or more owners [more…]

Imply an Easement by Subdivision Plat

The parties’ actions may imply the intent to create an easement without any express agreement. There obviously isn’t written evidence of such easements that would satisfy the statute of frauds, but they’re [more…]

Acquire Easements by Prescription

A person may acquire an easement by using the servient land a particular way for a long period of time. Such an easement is called a prescriptive easement [more…]

Easements: Prohibiting Interference by the Servient Owner

The parties to an easement may specify which part of the servient land the dominant tenant may use, how the dominant tenant may use that land, the purposes for which the dominant tenant may use the land [more…]

Easements: Preventing Use that Benefits Nondominant Land

An easement that benefits particular land can’t be used to benefit any other land. So if someone acquires a right-of-way to pass across the servient land to get to and from a parcel of land, the dominant [more…]

Easements: Changing the Type or Purpose of Use

An easement agreement may specify that the easement may be used for certain purposes and in certain ways. For example, an easement agreement might grant only the right to ride across the land on a unicycle [more…]

Easements: Increasing the Burden on the Servient Land

The dominant owner may trespass by using the easement in ways that increase the burden on the servient land. An express easement may specify the extent to which the dominant owner may burden the servient [more…]

Transfer and Divide Easements

Property law allows for an easement owner to transfer his easement to another person. And as with other property interests, in some ways an easement owner can divide his easement rights and transfer some [more…]

Ways to Terminate Easements

An easement is permanent unless the parties agree otherwise. But the parties certainly can agree that an easement will terminate at some point, whether at a specific time or when certain conditions occur [more…]

Terminate Easements by Estoppel

Estoppel terminates an easement in circumstances similar to abandonment. But instead of terminating the easement because the dominant tenant has given it up, estoppel terminates the easement because the [more…]

Extinguish Easements by Adverse Use

The servient owner can extinguish an easement on her land by adversely using it for the same period of time required for adverse possession or a prescriptive easement. The servient owner must satisfy these [more…]

Land Use Regulations: Use, Height, and Bulk

Zoning ordinances, the most prominent form of local land use regulation, are laws that group compatible land uses together. These ordinances may preserve quiet and safety in residential areas, minimize [more…]

Protecting Nonconformities from New Zoning Restrictions

When a zoning ordinance is adopted or amended, it generally allows preexisting structures and uses of property to continue even if they don’t comply with the new restrictions. Such preexisting uses that [more…]

Permitting Conditional Land Uses

A typical zoning ordinance specifies not only uses that are permitted in each zoning district but also other uses that may be specially permitted only if certain specified conditions are met. Such uses [more…]

Avoiding Unnecessary Hardship with Variances

Administrative exceptions to zoning regulations are called variances. Whereas conditional use permits are available for uses that the zoning ordinance specifically allows when the listed conditions are [more…]

Amending Zoning Laws

State law grants city and county legislative bodies (typically called county commissions or city councils) the authority to adopt zoning ordinances. That authority, of course, includes the power to amend [more…]

Zoning Laws: Requiring Consistency with a Comprehensive Plan

Zoning enabling acts all contain some version of a requirement that the zoning ordinance be “in accordance with a comprehensive plan.” This means that not only must the originally adopted ordinance be [more…]


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