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Prescriptive vs. conservative easements: What’s the difference?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2019 | Real Estate Law

According to the University of Florida Handbook of Florida Fence and Property Law: Easements and Rights of Way, Florida is one of many states that recognizes easements and rights of way. Easements grant certain individuals the right to use or enjoy the land of another for a specified purpose and without fear of repercussion. The use must be consistent with the general property rights of the actual owner. Florida recognizes two types of easements: Prescriptive and conservative. It is important, if you hope to enact easement rights, that you understand the differences between the two.

A prescriptive easement works similarly to adverse possession. You may be able to obtain rights less than full ownership if you can prove that used the land continuously and uninterrupted for 20 years, that you did not have permission from the actual landowner to use the land and that your use was so open, visible, notorious and uninterrupted that it would have been possible for the landowner to not have known about it.

A conservation easement is an express easement that protects land from development. The only entities that may obtain a conservation easement include a government body or a charitable organization or trust. This type of easement prevents activities that include but are not limited to excavation, dumping, construction or tree removal. Once the easement is in place, no person or entity may change it to allow development. Several types of property may be privy to this protection, including farmlands, cultural properties, historical lands and archeological sites.

This article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice.