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Understanding prescriptive easements

On Behalf of | Jun 19, 2021 | Real Estate Disputes |

One of the many advantages of living in Texas is that it offers the potential to own large amounts of open land to those who can afford it. Whether you use your land for your family home or a working ranch, you may rarely see your nearest neighbors. They may own multiple acres as well on land next to yours. 

What happens if you learn that the fence on the farthest edge of your land was constructed in the wrong place? Your land actually extends further out. Your neighbor has been using part of your land without either of you realizing it for many years.

Requirements for a prescriptive easement

That’s just one example of how a prescriptive easement can be created. A person may be able to obtain the right to use someone else’s property under Texas law if they have used the land for at least ten years, and that use has been: 

  • Open and notorious
  • Continuous
  • Exclusive
  • Adverse

By adverse (or “hostile”) possession, the law simply means that the person didn’t have permission from the property owner. In many cases, that’s simply because both the owner and the person using the land failed to realize to whom the land belonged. It doesn’t have to mean that someone was intentionally trespassing or “squatting.”

Whichever side of the prescriptive easement situation you’re on, it’s wise to learn more about this type of easement and specifically what Texas law says about it. You may want to seek experienced legal guidance as well to help sort out your real estate dispute.


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