When purchasing a piece of property here in Orange County, the parties must undergo a significant amount of due diligence before the transaction may close. A title search is part of that process. If easements are discovered, they could play a critical role in the progression of a development.
Except for a few unusual situations, easements are the rights that one landowner gives to someone else to use a portion of his or her property. These documents do not transfer ownership of the property in question, but instead provide the other party with the right to use it. Even so, the documentation needed to provide one party with the right to use a portion of that belonging to another party must be executed in accordance with California law, much in the same manner as deeds and other property conveyances.
It is possible that an easement discovered through a title search could affect how a developer intends to use the property. Some research may be necessary in order to ensure that does not happen. Part of the inquiries into easements could include determining whether a new property owner would need to continue to honor a particular one. This could prove to be an uphill battle since the presumption is that an easement is intended to last forever.
As a developer searches for a property that will work well for a particular development, it may be worthwhile to determine whether any easements could preclude using the property in a certain manner. It may be possible to terminate an easement, but that may happen only under certain conditions. If it turns out that a termination would be in the best interests of a project, it may be a good idea to consult with an Orange County attorney in order to assess whether that is a possibility.