Utility Easements and Rights-of-Way: How They Work

March 13, 2024 | Tachus Community

If you’re a homeowner, you might have wondered about “easements” and “rights-of-way” and how they impact your property, especially regarding utilities like your internet. While you have control over many aspects of your property, it’s important to understand the rules and limitations tied to easements and rights-of-way. 

 By getting a grasp of these concepts and the laws that govern them, you can make informed decisions about your property’s use. 

What is an Easement? 

An easement is a legal agreement that allows someone to use or access another person’s property for a specific purpose. This often means allowing utility companies to access the property for maintenance or to set up infrastructure. 

Easement vs. Right of Way 

Easements and rights of way are similar but have important differences. For example, an easement might let a utility company bury fiber optic cables in a homeowner’s backyard, giving them specific rights to install and maintain the cables. 

On the other hand, a right of way could allow the utility company to pass through a property to reach utility poles or underground conduits for laying fiber optic cables along a set path. 

Knowing these distinctions is important for property owners to ensure the correct installation and upkeep of fiber internet infrastructure on their properties. 

The public right-of-way is where you will see contractors working.
The public right-of-way, indicated by the stripes, is where you will see our contractors working.

How to Find Easements on Property? 

For information on finding easements on your property, check your property deed and survey for information on easements, or visit the local land records office. Easements can affect your ability to use and develop your land, so consult a real estate attorney if you have questions or concerns. 

Do Utility Companies Have the Right to Dig on My Property? 

Utility companies often have easements that grant them the right to access and maintain their infrastructure on private property. Property owners should be aware of these easements and understand the extent of access granted to utility crews. 

Can a Property Owner Block an Easement? 

In most cases, property owners cannot block an easement as it is a legal right granted to another party. However, there may be specific circumstances where restrictions can be placed on the easement’s use. 

Who is Responsible for Easement Maintenance? 

The responsibility for easement maintenance typically lies with the party benefiting from the easement. This could be a utility company, or another entity granted access to the property. It is important for property owners to review their agreements and understand the terms regarding easement maintenance, as responsibilities can vary based on the specific agreements and local regulations. 

Which Areas Can Utility Crews Access on My Property? 

Utility crews can access the specific areas outlined in the easement agreement. Property owners should familiarize themselves with the terms of the easement to understand the extent of access granted. While the easement agreement provides a framework for access rights, utility crews may occasionally require access to other parts of the property to ensure the proper functioning and maintenance of utility systems. 

How Can I Resolve Property Damage Caused by Construction? 

If construction activities in the easement area result in property damage, property owners can seek compensation from the party responsible for the damage. It’s important to document the damage and communicate with the relevant parties to address the issue. 

Tachus and Easements

At Tachus, we pride ourselves on our expertise and commitment to providing our customers with the highest quality service. We understand that construction can be a challenging experience for property owners, but we want you to know that we have the skills and knowledge to complete our work quickly and efficiently while ensuring that your property is treated with the utmost care and respect. Our team is confident in our ability to complete your project on time and to your complete satisfaction.  

If you have any concerns or questions about our construction process, please feel free to contact us at 832.791.1100 or email us at support@tachus.com. We’re here to help and support you every step of the way.