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How to end an easement

There numerous legal issues that may arise in the course of purchasing and owning a piece of property. Sometimes, if a certain real estate transfer is not subjected to sufficient scrutiny, you may wind up owning a piece of property that is still not completely your own because of an easement that is applied to the property. But just because an easement exists doesn't mean that it's there forever. You may be able to terminate the easement, making the deal that much sweeter, or keeping it from being a complete lemon.

Ending an easement can be accomplished several ways, depending on the circumstances. The most direct way to end an easement is to request that a judge issue an order to dissolve it. There are many factors that can affect whether or not this will be honoured, and an experienced lawyer can help you gauge this manoeuvre's effectiveness before you attempt it. It is also possible to dissolve an easement simply by getting the person who enjoys the easement rights to agree to relinquish them, if you are able to negotiate it.

One other way to terminate some kinds of easements is to purchase both the property that contains the easement and the property that enjoys it. If, for instance, there are two adjacent plots of land, where one enjoys an easement that allows the owner of the other property to run a driveway through a portion of the other property. If one were to purchase both properties, he or she could end the driveway easement on the desired property and place the other property back on the market or keep it in a portfolio.

If you are considering purchasing a property, it is almost always advisable to have an experienced real estate lawyer as a part of your team to review all the relevant documents and identify possible problems before they manifest.

Source: Findlaw Canada, "What is an easement?," accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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