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What is an unrecorded easement?

Easements (those rights someone else has to use part of your property) are typically recorded in the public records of the County in which the property is located, and are thus easily discernable to anyone searching in the public records. An unrecorded easement, on the other hand, are those easements which for whatever reason go unrecorded. A prescriptive easement for example, whereby a neighbor had been using the property in some way for a long time and thus created an easement may never have been recorded. An unrecorded easement is not covered by the title insurer unless an extended coverage endorsement is purchased and added to the title insurance policy.

Recorded easements generally show up in a title search performed by the title company, but unrecorded easements may show up only on a survey. If you do not have a survey done on your property, you can ask to look at the existing owners’ survey which may have been done when they purchased the property, to ascertain if any unrecorded easements are in place.

If you discover an easement, check the wording carefully. When a document grants an easement to a particular person, the restriction may terminate when he dies or sells the property. If it is granted to someone for a term of years or to someone and his “heirs and assigns,” then it probably is in effect no matter who owns the property.