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What Is a Sewer Easement?

Homeowners or property owners will commonly need to run a sewer line through someone's else's property in order to have access to the public sewer line.
A sewer easement is a special type of property ownership that allows a person the right to place a sewer or sewer line on land owned by someone else.
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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2014
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A sewer easement is a special type of property ownership that allows a person the right to place a sewer on a small piece of land owned by someone else. Sewer easements are common because often a homeowner or property owner will need to run a sewer line through someone's property in order to have access to the public sewer line. Without a sewer easement, it might be impossible to connect the sewer lines to public sewers, making the property that cannot access the sewer far less valuable.

An easement, in general, is a formal legal term that means a right of passage is granted. When a person owns land, they normally own the full rights to that land, and can prevent other people from passing through or using it. An easement grants another person partial access to a portion of that land for a specific purpose, without the owner's permission.

An easement can be purchased or given. Formal easements can be created by signing a document vesting legal rights in the easement to the person who builds the sewer. An easement can also be created by implication; for example, if one party has been using a driveway on someone else's land for the past thirty years, he or she may have an implied easement to continue using that driveway.

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When there is a formal easement, such as a sewer easement, the person who buys the property that the sewer easement is on, buys it with that easement attached. This is extremely helpful to the person who needs the sewer easement. If a homeowner needs to go through his neighbor's yard to reach a public sewer line, it is important to establish a formal written sewer easement that gives him the legal right to have the sewer on the neighbor's property.

If the party requiring the easement does not have a formal easement, but his sewer happens to be on his neighbor's property, he could potentially have problems when the property owner sells the house. If a new buyer purchases the house and does not want the sewer to run through his land, the new owner could demand that the sewer owner remove the sewer line from the property if there is no easement. If there is an easement, however, that easement goes with the property when they buy it, since the sewer owner legally owns the right to run that sewer line through the land.

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Discuss this Article

anon358563
Post 5

When a town or a city is given an easement for sewers, does that include individual connections or does every lot in that subdivision need an individual easement from the owner of the land that the sewer is running through?

anon276148
Post 4

I purchased a home in 1996 on 3/10 of an acre with a recorded sewer easement from 1972. A cop purchased ground in 2004 where my easement is on and he has locked me off the property by constructing a fence and gate. He said he wanted me to fix the sewer, then locked me out and turned it over to the Health Department. I've been in court for the past three years fighting for my easement and the courts are siding with his lies!

anon270253
Post 3

A title search of the property (costs about $16 online) will show any easements.

FebFM10
Post 2

@bhiver - I would think that a survey of the house could provide you with that information. When builders are getting ready to build a home (in the city, anyway), they are required to provide a copy of the site or plat plan to the building office in that city, which has the easements on it for that lot. The local building office for your city may be able to provide you with a copy of the plat or site plan for the home in question.

Bhiver
Post 1

So if I'm getting ready to buy a home, how can I find out if it's got a property easement on it?

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