Aerial panorama of New York City skyscrapers at dusk as seen from above the 12th avenue and 26th street, close to Hudson Yards and Chelsea neighborhood
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Easements are a common feature of many properties throughout New York. If your private land prevents others from accessing their land or public areas like beaches and roads, your property likely has an easement. There may also be an easement on your land if public utilities need access to your property.

As necessary as easements may be for the good of others, they can be a hassle for you as a property owner. At best, having individuals walk across your property on a regular basis can be a nuisance. 

Whether you have recently purchased a property with an easement or have lived with one on your land for years, it is understandable to wonder if there is a legal way to block one. Here is what you need to know about easements in New York as a property owner.

How Easements Work in New York

An easement is nothing more than legal permission given to a group of people to access specific portions of your property. An easement gives a right of access but does not confer any ownership rights. 

This means that someone who is lawfully using an easement does not need to secure your permission first, as the easement gives the person legal permission to be present on your property.

There are numerous ways that an easement can be created, including by an express grant, by implicitly allowing others to use your property, or by individuals securing one through a court order. Once an easement exists, it can be difficult to terminate, and it may interfere with your right to use your property as you desire.

Ending an Easement

Just as an easement can come into existence under one of several sets of circumstances, an easement can be terminated in various ways as well. 

For example, the easement holder can abandon the easement through specific actions that demonstrate a desire to no longer use the easement. Alternatively, someone who benefits from an easement can give up the easement in writing.

One way easements typically do not end is by interference from the property owner whose land has the easement on it. In fact, there are very few actions a property owner can take on their own to legally stop individuals from using their property.

In other words, as frustrating as an easement may be, it is not likely the case that you can get rid of an easement by simply blocking people’s attempts to use it. If you try to do so, the easement holder could file a cause of action against you.

Terminating an Easement Through a Court Order

If your property is burdened by an easement, you might be able to block or remove that easement through a court order, such as a quiet title action or other court proceeding. Because you are attempting to prevent someone from using an easement that benefits them, you will need to provide justification for ending the easement to the court.

A commercial litigation lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of your easement and determine whether you may have a strong case for securing a court order to block or remove that easement.

Consult a New York Real Estate Litigation Lawyer 

As common as easements are, there are many misconceptions that people have about what they mean and how they work. You can get accurate and up-to-date advice about an easement-related issue you are facing when you speak with an experienced Manhattan real estate litigation lawyer from Levy Goldenberg LLP.

Whether you are seeking to remove an easement from your property or to block an easement from being created, our skilled team can help you explore the best path forward to protect your interests. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.