Picture this (relatively common) Florida situation: You and your neighbors share a single path that heads to the beach. Then, one day, somebody decides sharing is not the best arrangement.
Sometimes, one of your neighbors might start taking advantage. In other situations, people want to expand their property or develop land. Either way, it is likely that easements would be an aspect of your conversation.
What is an easement?
As explained by FindLaw, easements are a type of interest in real property. They do not give you the right to possess or sell the land, but they could give you the right to access it — to get to the beach, for example.
There are a variety of different types of easements. Functionally, you can divide them into two general categories. The first allows you to do something, and the second prevents you from doing something.
How do you know if you have an easement?
You can sometimes determine the existence of an easement through various types of research. For example, it could be an aspect of your neighbors’ deeds, which you might be able to access through public records. However, this has the potential to be somewhat laborious — and there are some avenues of investigation you might miss if you are not acquainted with the process.
You might also be able to find the easement in your own history. If your family has owned your land for some time, there could be evidence in probate records, for example.
Due to the competitive nature of the real estate business in Florida, things tend to be slightly more complex than this general outline would suggest. Especially when you face major developers, you might encounter detailed and sometimes creative interpretations of easements. Protecting your own interests in these types of situations might be a challenge but — with preparation, intelligence and tenacity — there is often a clear path forward.