Real Estate & Easements

In Texas, land rights are of utmost importance to individuals, businesses, and municipalities. However, landowners often face many issues regarding easements affecting their property. An easement is commonly defined as a non-possessory interest in another person's land. Easements can create tension because the easement holder is using property that he or she does not own, and a landowner is often restricted from certain uses (or, at least must share use of the property with the easement holder).

In Texas, there are private easements and public easements. Private easements can be a personal right, called an easement in gross, or the benefit can be incidental to a particular tract of land, called an appurtenant easement. Private easements can arise by contract, implication, estoppel, or prescription. Public easements are those for which the right of enjoyment and use are vested in the public generally or in a certain community. Public easements may arise by purchase, dedication, prescription, or condemnation. Easements create a dominant estate (estate benefitting from the easement) and a servient estate (estate burdened by the easement). Tensions can often arise between the dominant and the servient estate.

Often times, litigation arises after the creation of an easement because questions arise concerning the location, dimensions, scope, and duration of the easement. These questions must be resolved on a case-by-case basis and are impacted by the method of the easement's creation and subsequent ownership transfers. Environmental issues can also arise in the use of easements. Snow Spence Green LLP has handled disputes and litigation involving easements for pipelines, roadways, utilities, and many other types of easements.