Prescriptive Easements Explained img

Prescriptive Easements Explained

calender icon 7/31/2023    poster icon  Mark Goodman

An easement by prescription is essentially an easement by adverse possession for a limited purpose. A prescriptive easement comes into play when you have two property owners and one of them is using the other’s land for some limited-purpose (a driveway for example).

In our example, the existence of that driveway and the ongoing use of it may lead to a dispute between the property owners. If the party using the driveway can establish that their use of the driveway was hostile or adverse, actual, open, exclusive and continuous for a period of 15 years or more, a court would be likely to grant a driveway easement by prescription. However, if the owner of the land on which the driveway is located, permitted the other landowner to use the driveway, it’s most likely that a court would not grant a driveway easement by prescription. This is because the use of the driveway would not have been adverse or hostile.

Most of the same rules that apply to obtaining land by adverse possession apply to obtaining a prescriptive easement. The time periods of continuous use or occupation vary by state.

Again, most title companies would not insure a prescriptive easement without a court order.