What are the Differences Between Easements & Encroachments?

Posted by | December 09, 2014 | Litigation, Real Estate | No Comments

Easements and Encroachments

An easement is a legal “right of way;” in another’s land; it gives one party the legal right to use part or all of another party’s land, generally for a specific purpose. Easements can have a significant impact on the value of a property. If, for example, a neighbor successfully makes a claim of an easement on one’s property—such as the right to use a path crossing the property in order to access the lake behind the owner’s house—that easement carries forward with the land, even after the property is sold. Thus, in the event of a sale, the owner will be forced to sell land that a third party has a right to use. This could potentially decrease or increase the value of any property substantially. At Neek Law Firm, we provide services for drafting easements, assisting in obtaining easements, or simply reviewing existing easements in order to determine their validity and scope.


Encroachments, on the other hand, involve the unlawful use of another’s property by way of constructing a building, wall, driveway, or other structure without permission. Generally speaking, a property owner can recover monetary damages for any decrease in property value due to the existence of an encroachment. However, unless the proper steps are taken in a timely fashion, a court may find that the encroaching party has been allowed to rely on the encroachment for an extended period of time and will thus allow it to stay—functionally converting the encroachment to an easement. Moreover, if a court determines that the cost of removing an encroachment is substantially greater than the harm being caused by the encroachment, it may allow the encroachment to remain. Much like an unwanted easement, this would have a profound negative effect on property value.

At Neek Law Firm, we not only have extensive knowledge in matters such as entitlement, zoning, property line drawing, and easements/entitlements; we have the experience and relationships in place to provide clients with the highest grade of legal representation available. Regardless of what land-use needs a client may have, Neek Law Firm can help clients meet those needs in a cost-effective yet tailored manner. This is the best way for a client to protect property interests and maximize land or investment values.