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What Is Trespass in Real Estate?

What Is Trespass in Real Estate?

Hi, I’m Regan Atwood’s managing partner Jeff Regan and I answer the question: What is trespass in real estate?

Now, most people view a trespass as more of a criminal thing, but I’m talking about from a real estate claim what a trespass is.

For example, somebody may have an easement to come onto your property for ingress and egress. And that’s not a trespass, because they’ve got a recorded real property interest in the public records on that and they can do that.

But, if they overuse the easement, the legal terminology is overburdened the easement, that ripens into a trespass, and you can bring a trespass claim against a person who is overburdening your easement.

Examples of that I’ve been actually involved in a case on, but it’s also in the case an example of that happening is a situation in which someone had an easement in an area that had been, I won’t say country, but closer to country than city area. And a person owned quite a bit of acreage. And
it was kind of country, they had timber and they also had farmland and also they had several hundreds of acres.

And there was a person who had an easement to a landowner behind this owner who had an easement through his property on a road, that went to his property, a private road that went through his property.  And he owned an easement to access, the back 40 or whatever — his acreage.

Well, the guy’s been using it and he had a house back there and he had a family back there and there was some traffic, but it wasn’t a lot because it’s just one house you’re going to.

Then the guy sold his property.

The people who purchased the property, because this guy had used this easement for years, they, of course, get the easement, because you know they buy the property and it comes — well, the property rights comes with it, is this.

The problem was, over the years, the area started to get more densely populated. And so, traveling started picking up around there and guess what the new owner did? He started building an apartment complex.

That’s overburdening the easement.

The case where that happened was actually a very old case. You wouldn’t have that happen today.

The reason that wouldn’t happen today is because the county wouldn’t give you the building permit for it. They probably wouldn’t even allow access to a multifamily apartment.

That is a trespass that most people aren’t thinking in their mind, “That’s what a trespass is.” That people, but they have the right, they’ve got the easement. Yeah, but they overburdened it.

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