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What does a preservation easement mean for your land?

When you buy property in Texas, you probably have plans for how you want to use that property now and in the future. It's good to have a plan, but it's smart to know if any legal issues could stand between you and your plans. One of these things includes an easement.

An easement on a piece of land gives a person who is not the property owner the right to access that land for a specific purpose -- to enter their own property, access public space and more. There are also different types of easements, and one specific type that could affect your goals for your property is a preservation easement. Before you move forward, it is beneficial to learn more about this issue and understand what it could mean for your specific plans.

What is a preservation easement?

A preservation easement is exactly what it sounds like – it exists to preserve certain areas from development or deterioration. This type of easement often applies to properties to which there is historical significance that the government or other groups want to preserve. 

If you bought land that could be historically significant, or there is a structure on the property that is old, symbolic or important for any reason, you may not be able to develop that land, change the building or do other things. A preservation easement can do the following things:

  • It may prevent you from making topographic changes to the property, such as leveling hills, changing landscaping, removing trees and much more.
  • It can keep you from using the building in specific ways or doing certain things with the land.
  • You may not be able to make changes to the outside appearance of a structure. 

Before you sign on the dotted line, it is smart to seek the guidance of a real estate attorney who can help you understand what this type of easement means for you, including your taxes. 

How can you protect your rights?

While you do not want to destroy things of historical value or do anything intentionally harmful to a significant property, you do have certain rights as the property owner. You will want to be very clear about what those rights are and what you can do with your property. In the event there is an issue or a potential dispute regarding what this means, you will want to seek an assessment of your case as soon as reasonably possible.

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