Imagine you are signing the purchase contract for a new house. Once you get the title deed, you find out that there is an easement on your property. So, what is an easement, and how can it affect when you want to build in your backyard, specifically a swimming pool?
An easement provides the right to access real property owned by someone else for a purpose and a limited time. It can affect property owners in many ways. However, it’s always a good idea to research when buying a home or planning to build anything, including a swimming pool. There are different types of easements, and each of them can mean something extra to your home. Below is an overview of the three most common types of easements you will encounter.
Utility easements are areas created by state or local law. It gives a utility’s employees the right to access infrastructure on private property, allowing them to access your property, but only for a specific purpose. When you buy a new home, you will often find existing easements on the property.
This type of easement does not give utilities the freedom to take over your property, but they can install new equipment as long that is for the benefit of the community. So, it is legal regardless of agreeing or not on the decision to make changes.
Some easements may even restrict the use of your property. For example, you may not allow planting trees or installing equipment that could interfere with local power lines.
Private easements are a right created by the property owner and sold or transferred to another party. For example, let us say your neighbor wants to enter your property for an installation. You can either grant access or refuse to sell a private easement. Where it gets tricky is when private easements have the potential to affect future homeowners. For example, granting a private easement to your neighbor could affect when you sell the house at a later date. Always check whether private easements exist before purchasing a property.
It may not be a problem or limit the ability to use the property when there is a private easement. Ensure that it appears in the land records.
Easements are for situations where another person/company needs access to your property. They are sometimes called easements because of the government’s long-standing interest in the productive use of the land.
For example, you live in a rural area. You and your neighbor have land surrounding the area and can only access the road through your property. In this case, the road would establish an easement, and your neighbor would have the right of way.
You do not have the right to prevent this easement because it would unnecessarily burden your neighbor. You would interfere with your neighbor’s access to the main road.
How Does an Easement Affect Pool Construction?
A pool designer knows it is crucial to provide a plan that includes positioning dimensions on the property about the house, property lines, setback areas, and easements. There may be exceptions and situations that deviate from the norm. Property restrictions may affect construction, and homeowners’ associations may impose additional spacing requirements, enclosures, and building codes. Homeowners’ associations sometimes have a committee (architectural committee) that approves plans before construction.
Easements designate an area that is part of the property but may not be accessible for building on by assigning the easement to a utility or other authority. Typically, these are power, telephone, cable, water, gas, drainage, lake maintenance, or access rights. So, a pool deck cannot go on an easement, but it can be adjacent to one in most cases.
Usually, there are no distance requirements for an easement, but you should always check with your municipality’s building inspector.