Easements In Washington State May Terminate For Frustration Of Purpose

Posted: Feb 5, 2019

By: Washington State Business & Real Estate Lawyer William O. Kessler

Property boundary lines are often not as simple as square boxes aligned neatly next to one another. An easement is a prime example of the complexities associated with boundary lines. Easements are a right to use (not own outright) or restrict the use of someone else’s land, and issues regarding easements tend to get tricky.

For example, Bob owned a piece of land with an easement through the property. The easement was used for a long driveway leading to neighboring parcels, and the owners of those neighboring parcels were permitted to access the road for ingress to and egress from their properties. Later, parcels in the community were re-drawn, public road construction was completed, and there is now a new road with easy public access to the benefitted parcels. In addition, the benefitted neighbors performed construction blocking off the old road running through Bob’s property from reaching the public road.

Now that there is no reason for a road to run through Bob’s property, what happens? Does the easement continue to burden Bob’s land? Bob would take the position that there is a frustration of the initial purpose of the easement, excusing Bob from permitting access. In other words, the main reason for the easement on Bob’s property no longer exists so Bob does not have to honor the easement.

At Beresford Booth, we understand the complexities associated with real estate law and are well versed in how to solve issues such as those facing Bob and his neighbors. We look forward to working with you.

Beresford Booth PLLC (425.776.4100), www.beresfordlaw.com.

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