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  Easement

An Easement is a right of one person to use the real estate, or a portion of it, of another person for a particular purpose.  The real estate, subject to the easement, is sometimes referred to as the “Servient Estate.”  An example of an easement is a right-of-way for the ingress and egress.  This means the right to travel across or across part of the Servient estate to reach or leave one’s own real estate.  Another example is an easement for utility, such as power lines or water lines. 

Easements may arise from agreement or operation of law.  An agreement for an easement is set forth in writing and is signed by the parties agreeing to it.  Easements may be for a set period of time, but often run with the land.  This means that even if one of the parties agreeing to it conveys or transfers his/her real estate, the easement still applies to the real estate affected by it.

An easement established by an operation of law results from general legal principles such as a right of ingress and egress for landlocked real estate, or such as the right of drainage of surface water.  An easement also may arise by adverse possession. This is sometimes referred to as a prescriptive easement or easement by prescription.    

Further information regarding “adverse possession” may be found in that topic.

Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition.
Alabama: In Alabama, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.
Alaska:

N/A

Arizona:

In Arizona, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Arizona Code §12-521 through 528.

Arkansas: In Arkansas, the period of adverse use must be at least seven (7) years.  Arkansas Code §16-56-105;  18-11-102, 03;  18-60-212.
California: In California, the period of adverse use must be at least five (5) years.  The claimant of an easement by adverse possession must also pay the taxes due for the five (5) year period if it has been separately assessed.  California CC §1007.
Colorado:

In Colorado the period of adverse use must be at least eighteen (18) years.  Colorado Code §38-41-101, 108, 109.

Connecticut: In Connecticut, the period of adverse use must be at least fifteen (15) years.  Connecticut Code §37-40;  47-25.
Delaware:

In Delaware, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Delaware Code §10-7901, 7902.

Florida:

In Florida, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Florida Code §95.16-.18.

Georgia: In Georgia, the period of adverse use must be at least seven (7) years for improved land and twenty (20) years for wild land.  Georgia Code §44-5-175; 44-9-1.
Hawaii:

In Hawaii, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Hawaii Code §657-31, 31.5.

Idaho: In Idaho the period of adverse use must be at least five (5) years.  Idaho Code §5-208 through 210.
Illinois: In Illinois, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  This type of easement does not arise if the owner of the servient estate posts a conspicuous notice on the real estate stating that the use of it is permitted and subject to his/her control.  Illinois  Code §735-5/13-122.
Indiana:

In Indiana, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Indiana Code §32-5-1-1.

Iowa: In Iowa the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  The owner of the servient estate may prevent the establishment of a prescriptive easement by serving written notice upon the easement claimant within the ten (10) year period that he/she disputes the claim.  Iowa Code §564.1, 4-7.
Kansas:

In Kansas, the period of adverse use must be at least fifteen (15) years.  Kansas Code §60-503.

Kentucky:

In Kentucky, the period of adverse use must be at least seven (7) years if held under patent and fifteen (15) years otherwise.  Kentucky Code §413.050.

Louisiana: Louisiana CC §742.
Maine: In Maine, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  The owner of the servient estate may prevent a prescriptive easement by giving written public notice that he/she objects to the easement.  Maine T.14, §812.
Maryland:

In Maryland, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Maryland Courts Art. §5-103.

Massachusetts: In Massachusetts, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  The owner of the servient estate may prevent prescriptive easement by posting a conspicuous notice on the real estate claimed as an easement which states the owner’s intent to prevent an acquisition of an easement.  Massachusetts C. 187, §2-3.
Michigan:

In Michigan, the period of adverse use must be at least fifteen (15) years.  Michigan CLA §600.5801.

Minnesota:

In Minnesota, the period of adverse use must be at least fifteen (15) years.  Minnesota Code §508.02;  541.01-.02.

Mississippi:

In Mississippi, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Mississippi Code §15-1-7, 13.

Missouri:

In Missouri, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Missouri Code §516.010-.030.

Montana:

In Montana, the period of adverse use must be at least five (5) years.  Montana Code §70-19-405.

Nebraska:

In Nebraska, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Nebraska Code §25-202.

Nevada: In Nevada, the period of adverse use must be at least five (5) years.  Nevada Code §11.070-.080.
New Hampshire: In New Hampshire, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  New Hampshire C. 508, §2.
New Jersey:

In New Jersey, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  New Jersey Common Law.

New Mexico:

In New Mexico, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  New Mexico Code §37-1-22.

New York:

In New York, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  New York Real Prop. A&P.L. §501-551.

North Carolina: North Carolina Common Law.
North Dakota: In North Dakota, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  North Dakota Code §47-05-12.
Ohio: In Ohio, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty-one (21) years.  Ohio Code §2305.04.
Oklahoma:

In Oklahoma, the period of adverse use must be at least fifteen (15) years.  Oklahoma Code §12-93; 60-333.

Oregon:

In Oregon, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Oregon Code §12.050

Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty-one (21) years.  Pennsylvania Code §42-5530.
Rhode Island: In Rhode Island, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Rhode Island Code 34-7-1.
South Carolina: In South Carolina, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  South Carolina Code §15-67-210 through 260.
South Dakota:  South Dakota Common Law.
Tennessee:

In Tennessee the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Tennessee Common Law.

Texas:  Texas Common Law and Texas Civ. Prac. Rem. Code §16.021 onward.
Utah: In Utah, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Utah Common Law; Title 78, Chapter 12.
Vermont: Vermont Code §12-501.
Virginia:

In Virginia, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Virginia Common Law.

Washington:

In Washington the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Washington Code §7.28.050-.090.

West Virginia: In West Virginia, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  West Virginia Common Law Code §55-2-1.
Wisconsin:

In Wisconsin, the period of adverse use must be at least twenty (20) years.  Wisconsin Code §893.28.

Wyoming:

In Wyoming, the period of adverse use must be at least ten (10) years.  Wyoming Code §24-1-101.

This is not a substitute for legal advice.  An attorney must be consulted.
Copyright © 2002 by LAWCHEK, LTD

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