Utility companies that provide multiple services might ask homeowners to agree and sign an easement agreement, allowing them to install and service utility lines on their property. Some property owners might not hesitate to sign and agree to these easements, since these companies supply essential services to people. Services like power, internet access, gas, etc. Signing one of these easements may be a costly error, however, with long-terms affects that range from lower property values to decreased curb appeal. If a utility company is asking you to sign a power line easement, you should consult with an eminent domain attorney first. It’s also important to have a basic understanding of utility easements.
Sometimes referred to as a “right of way”, power line easements are legal agreements between a property owner and a utility company. These agreements grant the company the ability to use the property for a specific purpose. The utilization of the property may include installing lines, cables, and equipment on your land. The utility can also be granted the right to maintain, access, and improve the lines continuously, depending on the terms of the easement.
Utility company’s easements usually don’t come with expiration dates, rather, they automatically continue even if the property changes in ownership.
Once you have signed a power line easement agreement, the utility company will acquire legal rights which affect how you can utilize your land. Some of the restrictions that you might face include:
Alteration Restrictions: You might not be allowed to build or improve structures in the portion of your land that was included in the agreement
Decreased Property Value and Curb Appeal: Equipment, lines, and cables can destroy your property’s visual appeal and cause its value to drop
Access Without Approval: The company may not have to provide any information on who will work on your property during maintenance and improvements
While utility companies often compensate property owners when an easement agreement has been requested, the amount may not be fair. Sometimes the compensation amount is not enough to cover future losses or the inconvenience it can bring.
Immediately consult with your eminent domain lawyers regarding your rights when a utility company seeks to use even a tiny portion of your property. Having an experienced, professional attorney backing you up will help you avoid costly mistakes.
Alton Clarke was born and raised in Syracuse. He has written for MSNBC, The Business Insider and Passport Magazine. In regards to academics, Alton earned a degree from St. John’s University. Alton covers entertainment and culture stories here at Diving daily.