Community Forums

Easement on Title R...

Easement on Title Report - Deal Breaker?  



Hello - I was wondering if there was someone that could kindly help me interpret this recorded easement that showed up on a Title report for one of my clients. I want to see whether this easement is a deal breaker. My questions specifically are:

1) Is the easement's location specifically defined? How much land does the easement take up?

2) What other conditions/provisions come along with the easement?

3) Can the easement be moved and?

I've attached the easement as well as the link to the online County map/parcel data. Any input would be much appreciated!

That's a rough one. It really needs some quality time to really interpret. For starters, it's not immediately obvious how the property described in the 1951 deed relates to the linked deed sketch. 

You have a 16' wide easement along the full width of the  described property. Then you have a 12' wide one over the east 128' feet.  But that doesn't mean it's 128' long. It follows a road, however that might meander. Then there is another 12' easement and another 16' wide. Purposes are not fully stated. But whatever purposes they have been put to over the last 67 years will probably be allowed to continue by a court. 

 The benefitted land is that of the grantee, who, I presume, retained adjacent land. Whoever owns that adjacent land now is the easement holder. 

Can you move it? Not without the cooperation and agreement of the easement holder.

If the easement areas have been put to no use then perhaps you could argue that the easements have been abandoned. But that's no slam dunk. Mere non-use is not abandonment.   


I do a lot of work in Pierce County; I see this a lot. And it's still tough to figure out...

1) Is the easement's location specifically defined? How much land does the easement take up?

It looks like it might be plotable; but I'd have to survey the property, to be sure. Once I figure that out, area will be easier.

2) What other conditions/provisions come along with the easement?

From the Pierce County GIS and Google Earth; it appears to have a road (maybe 2) that the property to the east, uses as an access. At a minimum, they can probably drive through the property, and maybe even run utilities. 

3) Can the easement be moved and?

Talk to a land use attorney, they can help you with those options.



5 Answers

Good gracious, is that deed even written in English?

Pretty common in that part of the world. It's transcribed from the original into title company records. Loads of acronyms and abbreviations. For example, "Baap" = Beginning at a point. And "Cys and warrs to sps the fdre sitd in pc w" = Conveys and warrants to said persons the following described real estate situated in Pierce County, Washington. 


No doubt there are some surveyors here that can help you. First find one licensed in your state, then hire them to figure it out. I won't give you an opinion since I'm not licensed there. 

FYI- in spite of my log in name I am licensed in Washington. Although Pierce County is not my stomping ground. 


If the easement is over land that will conflict with your intended use of the land, then you will have to decide for yourself.

Currently, I have a client that is selling their land and the buyer wants a prior iron ore deed deleted from the chain of title. That may or may not be a simple matter, Iron ore deed is from 1905 and it opens up a whole new can of worms that nobody has any clue of the result. It was probably to a now out of business with no one to worry about, but that is an unknown at this moment.

Moral, easements are for someone's needs and those needs would have to be ended with money or other relevant promises.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough - Mae West


thank you very much all for your input! I spoke to the easement holder and they told me that they are not going to relinquish the easement however their understanding is that the easement can be moved anywhere. my client obviously wants something in writing or the easement rewritten to make this clear. can anyone provide insight as to what would be the right course of action here?


Update. We have reached out to the grantee/beneficiary and they are open to getting the easement officially moved and recorded to the East side of the property. They are under the impression that the current easement, as it is written, can be moved anywhere but we obviously we want to create a fixed location to avoid any potential disputes down the road. Is this something that'd be better suited for a land use attorney or a surveyor? 

15% Discount on Books & PPI Learning Hub