Does State Law Require an Easement?

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.

Is there a county or state law that specifies a requirement for an easement between a townhome or single home properties for emergency access as well as county needs? I currently live in a townhome in the middle of the block and a wooden fence is shared by all townhomes through the backyard. If there is an emergency in the front of my home, I would have to exit via the back and climb over 6 fences and through 6 backyards to get to the end of the block to get to safety. The single family homes do have an easement; the townhomes do not.

If an easement is required in a particular situation, it would most likely be a zoning requirement or other similar local ordinance. You would need to check the specifics of your city or county codes to see if one exists.

However, this is something that should have been addressed in the process of subdividing the property and obtaining permits when the homes were built. If it wasn’t, then you have a problem in that you would be taking property from your neighbors in the process of creating an easement. That’s not likely to happen easily, and is the sort of thing that you would want a local attorney to assist with, if you wanted to pursue it.