Seattle, WA asked in Contracts and Real Estate Law for Washington

Q: We purchased a 57 acre farm solely for farm use. Neighbor across the street states she has an easement.

Seller provided a notarized statement regarding the entire property being farm use only. No documentation anywhere to be found prior to sale of property regarding any easements. Deed received after occupancy of home states there is indeed an easement. The date is also signed by the seller stating he was aware of the easement as far back as 2005 when he purchased the property. Do we have to honor this easement as this is going to be our sole business and income? We live in Rochester WA.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent Bowden
Brent Bowden
Answered
  • Lynnwood
  • Licensed in Washington

A: Usually easements and other issues like that are discovered and disclosed as part of the title search and title insurance process. Did you get title insurance? If you did, and if the title insurance missed the easement for some reason, they may compensate you. Your insurance company may also try to dispute the validity of the easement if they did not know about it and there is an argument to be made there.

However, generally speaking, an easement has to be honored regardless of whether you knew about it when you purchased the property. And regardless of how it impacts you. It is a property interest like your title to your land, and can only be extinguished in more or less the same ways.

I do not think that a statement that the entire property was for farm use is contradicted by the fact that there is an easement. I may be missing something, but I do not see an issue there.

There are some other possible reasons the easement might not be enforceable, it is impossible to say for sure without knowing all the facts, and you could discuss that further with a lawyer.

I think the first thing to do is to look into your title insurance to see if the easement was disclosed there. I would start by looking at your title insurance or having someone else take a look at it.

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