Is a Verbal Agreement to an Easement Legal and Binding?

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“Is a verbal easement legal and binding? We are planning on building a home with our frontage being on a private road that has five homes on it. We have a written easement with our neighbor right across from us. But we have had a verbal easement with our neighbor that sits at the start of the private road for about three years now. After developing the property we are now ready to build our dream home. The neighbor at the beginning of the road tells us that he will not give us a written easement that a verbal easement should be good enough. My husband and I are now afraid to build for fear of the neighbor deciding at any time ( 1yr or 20yr) after we build that we can no longer access our home. Dose a verbal easement eventually become legal or our we going to be having problems? Do we even need a written easement from him with us all ready having a easement to our frontage?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Unfortunately, no, a verbal agreement to an easement is not generally sufficient.

As a general rule, contracts can be written or verbal. However, there is a big exception to that rule, and it is known as the Statute of Frauds. It states that, in order to be enforceable, certain types of contracts must be in writing. The exact list of contracts that falls into this category will vary from state to state, but in most cases, contracts involving rights in real estate are on the list.

Thus, it is probably not safe to rely on an oral agreement in this case. If your neighbor was hit by a bus tomorrow, how would you even prove that you had this oral agreement? You may need to do some convincing, but if this easement is vital to your building plans, you should get it in writing.



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Author: House Attorney

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