Do I have to Allow an Easement on my Property? Can I be Compensated for its Usage if I Allow it?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“A Real Estate Developer wants an Easement to my property. Do I have to allow this easement? Should I be compensated for the usage of the property? The Real Estate Developer is asking for a 50ft. temporary easement and a 20ft. permant easement. It will be located near the back of my property. A subdivision currently backs up to my property. The Developer is building several new subdivisions located on three different main streets. One street is still currently being built. The Developer wants an easement to install a sewer line. Since, the Developer stands to gain capital from the installation of the sewer lines. Shouldn’t I be compensated at a commercial rate? Should I just sell the land to the Developer? I live in Mississippi.”I cannot advise you regarding the specific laws of Mississippi, however in general you are not obligated to grant an easement. If there is a statute or a court order or some zoning provision or something which governs your particular situation, that may override the general rule. In particular, you mention that there’s already a subdivision behind your property; does the existing subdivision have an easement over your property? If so-in fact, if there are any easements already on your property-that may affect your rights and obligations, and should be reviewed.

Question: Compensation for an easement is a difficult topic. There is no hard and fast rule regarding what is appropriate compensation, so it is up to the parties involved to negotiate. It is possible to grant an easement for free, and it is also possible to be quite well compensated; it just depends on how valuable it is to each of the parties. You may wish to consult with a real estate attorney in your area, who may be able to give you some guidance. In any case, you should have one review the easement before it is recorded against your property.
Selling the land to the developer may not be as simple as it sounds, since that would be a “lot line adjustment” between your property and his, and would require government approval. It is certainly an option, but you would need to figure in the cost of getting the approval. In most cases, an easement can be granted without as much governmental overhead.