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Easement Disputes in Ventura and Southern California

Easements are a not uncommon source of dispute between property owners, both residential and commercial. Easements directly impact the rights and responsibilities of property owners with competing interests, so it’s no wonder that a dispute surrounding the easement might arise at some point. As a law firm that regularly represents parties in real estate transactions in Southern California, including negotiating, drafting and reviewing easements, the attorneys at Rounds & Sutter are well suited to help you understand your easement and represent in resolving that dispute efficiently and effectively, with your rights and best interests protected. Learn more about easements below, and contact our Ventura real estate lawyers if you find yourself on either side of an easement dispute.

Easement Creation and Modification Also Available

Rounds & Sutter also provides legal services in creating new and modifying existing easements, for our Client Party Appurtenant, or in Gross.  We can recommend, or use your CA Licensed Surveyor and Engineers, to advance your interests, in using our services, to establish and file with the County Recorder an easement of record.  Creation and Modification of Easement services can include drafting services where the parties to an easement already have spoken and reached an agreement, or where our Client wants a written introduction of the easement creation or modification interest desired, for the other party.  For Easement Services, Rounds & Sutter can advance your interests.

What Is an Easement?

An easement is a legal right granted to a person or entity to use another person’s property for a specific purpose. Common types of easements include utility easements, which allow utility companies to access your property, and access easements, which permit neighboring property owners to pass through your land.

Common Causes of Easement Disputes

Easement disputes can arise between the original parties to the covenant, or when one party purchases property that is already subject to an easement. Common reasons underlying easement disputes include:

  1. Undefined Boundaries: The easement area is not clearly outlined in property records, leading to disagreement over the extent of the easement.
  2. Overuse: The party benefiting from the easement exceeds the scope of use defined by the easement agreement.
  3. Interference: The property owner interferes with the easement holder’s rights, such as by constructing a fence or another barrier.
  4. Abandonment: One party argues that the easement is no longer necessary.

How Rounds & Sutter Can Help You Resolve Your Southern California Easement Dispute

Property rights are extremely valuable and important to all parties who hold them, making easement disputes especially contentious and hard-fought at times. Our real estate lawyers at Rounds & Sutter are experienced in all manner of dispute resolution and have an extensive background knowledge in California real property law. We’ll work to resolve your dispute in the most efficient and effective manner, including:

  1. Determination of Rights: One of the most common easement concerns is the interpretation, and misinterpretation, of the parties’ rights. Determination first involves assessing what rights, as a servient or dominant tenement, and as an interest appurtenant or easement in gross, are enforceable by or against our Client.  Rounds & Sutter then typically drafts a written legal determination, citing the parties’ rights, including demand for the appropriate easement remedy, for the benefit of our Client.
  1. Negotiation: Many easement disputes can be resolved through negotiation between the parties. Negotiations might result in a modification or termination of the easement, a clarification of rights between the parties, or payment of compensation or other remedies. A negotiated agreement is likely to meet the needs of both parties and allow them to move forward in their continuing relationship as neighbors.
  2. Mediation: If negotiation fails, mediation is often the next step. An impartial third-party mediator can help facilitate a resolution that both parties can live with, avoiding the need for further litigation. Mediation is sometimes ordered by the court for parties in litigation, although many times one or both parties will voluntarily propose mediation on their own, knowing it to be an effective way of resolving disputes without the expense, time, frustration and uncertainty of ongoing litigation.
  3. Trial: When all else fails, parties may take the dispute to court. The court will examine property records, the original easement agreement, and any other relevant evidence produced by the parties, as well as legal arguments made by the attorneys. Rounds & Sutter are experienced litigators with a record of success litigating real estate disputes in court.

Contact Rounds & Sutter to Resolve Your Easement Dispute in Southern California

Easement disputes can be complicated, and the outcome can significantly impact your property rights. Rounds & Sutter has the expertise and experience to guide you through every step of the resolution process, from negotiation to mediation or courtroom litigation. Understanding the nuances of Southern California property law can make all the difference in your case, and Rounds & Sutter is well-equipped to navigate these complexities for you. Call 805-650-7100 to speak with an attorney or schedule a consultation at our offices in Ventura and Westlake Village.