Category Archives: Easements

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: Can One Co-Owner Grant an Easement to a Third-Party?

Question:  Can one co-owner of property grant an easement to a third party or is consent from all co-owners required? Answer:  “It is well settled that a tenant in common cannot, without the precedent authority or subsequent ratification of his cotenants, impose an easement or dedication upon the common property in favor of a third party.”   See Tex. Mortg. Co. v. Phillips Petrol. Co., 470 F.2d 497 (5th Cir. 1972) (applying Texas law).  In other words, without the consent of all co-owners, or their subsequent agreement to the terms… Read More →

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Ruling for Landowner in Easement Width Case

The Texas Supreme Court recently reversed two lower court decisions in Southwestern Electric Power Co. v. Lynch, involving a question of the allowable width of a general easement.  Although both the trial court and appellate court sided with the landowner and would limit the width of the easement, the Supreme Court disagreed and ruled in favor of the transmission line company, refusing to limit the allowable width of the general easement. Background Three landowners in Bowie County own land burdened by a utility easement held by Southwestern Electric… Read More →

Easements 101

This blog post is an excerpt from the Owning Your Piece of Texas: Key Laws Texas Landowners Need to Know handbook, which is available for free download by clicking here.  If you are interested in purchasing a hard copy, please contact me at tdowell@tamu.edu. An easement is a means by which a landowner grants another person the right to use the landowner’s property for a specific purpose.  The land on which the easement is granted is referred to as the “servient estate”, and the land the easement benefits… Read More →

Case Offers Important Considerations When Purchasing Property

A recent case from the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals, Chapa v. Arrellano, caught my attention and offers the chance to talk through some important reminders for anyone purchasing land. Background In August 2017, Chapa purchased a piece of land from the Arrellanos in Hidalgo County, Texas.  She intended to build a home on the property.  Prior to purchase, she conducted a visual inspection of the land and saw no visible impediment for the construction of a home on the property.  She did not hire a title company or… Read More →

Court Determines Meaning of “Oil and Gas” in Century-Old Pipeline Easement

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston recently issued an opinion in Texan Land and Cattle II v. ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., a case involving a dispute over the meaning of the words “oil and gas” included in a 1919 pipeline easement agreement.  This case is a good reminder for landowners about the importance of drafting detailed easement agreements and the long-lasting effects these easements can have on property. Background Texan Land and Cattle (TLC) own a piece of land in Harris County.  In 1919, the prior owner of the… Read More →

Amarillo Court of Appeals Rules in Landlocked Property Case

*Update:  The Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review on August 2, 2019.  The Amarillo Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion in Gordon v. Demmon, a case involving access to landlocked property.  This is an issue more common in Texas than one might realize, so I always find court opinions instructive and a good reminder to landowners about some key considerations when dealing with access to property. Background In 1971, the Gordons purchased a 6 acre tract of land in Bell County, which was severed from a… Read More →

Court Upholds Finding of Easement by Estoppel

A recent decision out of the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals addresses the requirements to prove an easement by estoppel and offers some good reminders for Texas landowners when dealing with access easements. Background This case involves a dispute over a road between two pieces of property, one owned by the Cores family and another by LaBorde Properties.  The road had been in place even before the Cores and LaBordes owned the land and was created to allow landlocked landowners with property south of the Cores’ land to… Read More →

Questions from Tiffany’s Desk: How Can I Access Landlocked Property in Texas?

Question:  I own property that is landlocked–I’ve got no way to access my land from a public road without crossing over private property owned by someone else.  What can I do to access my property? Answer:  Despite many people thinking that landowners always have an automatic right to access their landlocked property, under Texas law, that is not always the case.  A landlocked landowner has a number of options to consider. Obtain an express easement from a neighbor.  Likely the easiest way to obtain access to landlocked property… Read More →

Texas Court Limits Width of Old, General Transmission Line Easement

*UPDATE:  The Texas Supreme Court granted the Petition for Review on August 30, 2019 and will consider this case.* A new case from the Texarkana Court of Appeals could prove extremely useful for landowners dealing with old, blanket easement agreements on their property.  In Southwestern Electric Power Company v. Lynch, the court held that the general easement at issue, which was silent as to width, limited the allowable width of the easement to 30 feet, which was the width historically used by the transmission line company. [Read full opinion… Read More →

Pipeline Easement Negotiation Checklist and Podcast

If you’ve ever gotten notice that a pipeline company is planning on coming across your property and you found yourself facing the task of negotiating an easement, you know how intimidating that can be.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you, as a landowner, do have rights!  You can and should take time to really negotiate with the company to ensure you are receiving adequate compensation and have included terms in the agreement to protect your property. In the last couple of months, I’ve… Read More →