16A — January 15 - 28, 2016 — 2016 Forecast — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


2016 F orecast

By Maria Di Stravolo Elliott, Barley Snyder A gas pipeline easement – Not in my backyard!!


will allow the utility company to construct, maintain, repair and access the lines located

and are “covenants running with the land”, which means that any subsequent property owners must abide by the terms of the easement, even though they did not originally sign the easement agreement. The ease- ments are recorded in the local county Recorder of Deeds Office so that there is public notice to any subsequent purchaser of the property. How can a property owner protect themselves in a util- ity easement? Utility compa- nies have standard easement agreements, which typically

require the company to repair damages to the property and return it to its original condi- tion after construction or main- tenance. However, an owner can request that the company to indemnify and protect the property owner from any losses that the owner may sustain as a result of the utility line. An owner wants to avoid giving a “blanket” easement to a utility company, which allows the company to place the line anywhere on the prop- erty or access the line from any place on the property. An owner should require that the easement area be defined by showing a plan and having a legal description. The owner may also want to restrict which roads or driveways the utility company will use to access the easement. Also, an owner should require the utility company to contact the owner each time construction or maintenance work is to be done of the line. A land owner may want to reserve certain rights in the easement to use the surface lands even though the lines will run through the land. A landowner may also want to have the right to relocate the easement in the event the owner wants to develop the land. A utility line running through the middle of a tract can limit its potential for de- velopment. A landowner can also pro- hibit the transfer or assign- ment of the easement to an- other company. If there is no prohibition, the easement can be assigned to another utility company. The company will probably resist this prohibi- tion since it wants to assign freely the easement if there is a sale or merger of the com- pany. If the landowner cannot prohibit the assignment, then at the very least, the land- owner should require that the company notify the owner in writing when the easement has been transferred. Keeping these negotiations in mind may lessen the wor- ries an owner may have when confronted with the possibil- ity of a utility line running through its lands. Maria Di Stravolo Elliott is the chair of the Real Estate, Environmental andMunicipal Group at the law firm of Barley Snyder in Lancaster, PA. n

ome folks get outraged when they find out that a gas pipeline, or other

ments affect property. Utility easements are prop- erty rights that allow a utility

utility line, a n d e a s e - me n t w i l l cross their p r o p e r t y while others may not un- derstand the outrage. Un- derstanding

An owner should require that the easement area be defined by showing a plan and having a legal description.

Maria Elliott

on the lands of an owner. The owner still owns the land – the land is simply “subject to” the easement. These easements usually are perpetual in time

company such as Williams or UGI or a municipal sewer or water authority to run utility lines through the lands of an owner. Typically, the easements

the purpose and provisions of utility easements may lessen the rage or at least provide answers as to how these ease-

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