Is There a Way to do Away with Abandoned Easement?

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“There’s an irrigation easement between my backyard and my rear neighbors backyard that ends at the edge of our property and leads nowhere else due to other houses blocking it. It is there because we had water rights which we had to relinquish in order to obtain city water. No water has ran through it in over 15 years and it is surrounded by the backyards of others with no access to it unless you enter through our property. I’ve been cleaning since 1984 when I purchased the property. I want to know if there is a way to do away with the easement mainly because it looks like an alley surrounded by fences and rock walls, and I’d rather reclaim my property and put it to good use without having strays and skunks living there.”

[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.]

I would start by finding out who owns the easement, and see if they’ll voluntarily relinquish it.  Failing that, the specific terms of the easement might give you an argument for terminating it, on the grounds that its purpose has been eliminated.  That’s a trickier argument.

Failing that, you’ll need to look into your state’s rules for abandonment of easements.  That can be a very very technical area of the law, and I can’t give you better advice than to consult with an
experienced real estate attorney in your area.

Or, of course, you could just build a fence on your side of the easement, and ignore it.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.