So, you have settled in to your home and you have decided it is time to build a fence to keep your new puppies from straying into your crazy neighbor’s yard. Well, maybe they’re not “crazy”, but they are cat people, so you know… that qualifies, right?

All kidding aside, you pull out the survey you got at closing and start looking at your property lines and suddenly you see it… there is: an easement that cuts across one of your property lines.

You have a vague recollection of your title company telling you about this when you bought the house, but you never gave it a second thought before.

So, what is an easement and what difference does it make?

After all, it IS your property!

Simply put, an easement is the right of another entity to use a portion of your property. You still own the property, but someone else can use it. Without getting way too technical, the entity owning the easement is the dominant estate, where you are the servient estate.  While there are several different types of easements, the most common are:

  1. Utility Easements – be aware, these can be above or below ground, such as power lines or sewer pipes.
  2. Sidewalk Easement – even if there isn’t a sidewalk visible, there may be a right to build one on your property.
  3. Driveway Easement – your neighbor, who lives behind you, needs to use part of your property to gain access to his house.
  4. Deadend or Beach Easement – the public may be allowed to use the side of your property to get to a park or to the beach. This is similar to a Conservation Easement.
  5. View Easement – this may give your neighbor the right to that glorious beach or mountain view they get when they look toward your property.

Can I still have a fence if there’s an easement on my property?

OK, so now what? Well, if you were planning an addition to your house, it would be prudent to rethink it, since the dominant estate could exercise its rights and ask you to tear it down so they could, say, rebuild those sewer pipes. But that fence should not present a problem.

It is very common to see a fence constructed where easements run, but you should be aware of the potential need for that dominant estate to access your property.  You don’t have to be easement-phobic! The Florida Fence team has the experience and know-how to help you navigate the easement mire, and we can help you keep those puppies safe and sound.


Photo credits: legal documents via depositphotos and puppies via giphy