Recently Nicor Gas Company notified me that it would be installing a new gas main and a new gas service line at my home. I did not think much about it at the time, nor after JULIE located the buried cable, gas and water lines. But then a few weeks later I was surprised to see a large machine tearing up my yard one morning. I knew there was little to be done, since Nicor was operating within its easement over my property.
An easement is the right of another to cross or otherwise use someone else’s land for a specified purpose. In my case, public utilities have an easement over my property for the purpose of installing and maintaining overhead electric and television lines along with underground electric, water, sewer, telephone and cable lines.
When adjacent landowners are feuding over easement rights, usually it occurs when one is claiming an easement by prescription or by operation of law. These are usually not recorded in the county recorder’s office. In claiming one of these easements over another’s property, how the claimant has used the neighbor’s property, or how it needs to use the other’s property is driving theme behind the claimant’s desire for an easement.
Recorded easements on the other hand, are typically uncovered when a title search is performed on a parcel of property. This most often occurs in connection with the purchase and sale of land.
Public utility easements are created and defined when the property was originally platted. This is true for many properties connected to a city power grid, sewer and water system. Without such easements, your favorite cable company would not have the right to come upon your property to make repairs or improvements to its equipment.
The above article appeared in Positively Naperville, written by Chuck Keough, an attorney practicing community association law and civil litigation. Contact Chuck at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630) 369-2700 ext. 211