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Utility Easement Rights

Utility easement rights: Understanding project, legal, and landowner implications

Utility easement rights can be extremely complicated and vary widely among locations. A documented easement gives an individual or agency the right to use or access a property for a specific purpose. 

In the case of civil engineers, an easement can be used when implementing or updating infrastructure. An easement grants access to private property in order to provide a service that will serve the overall good of the community. This access also includes the ability to remove landscaping or other structures in order to grant the needed access. 

Understanding easements

Both the property owner and specified agencies have utility easement rights. There are different types of easements that might be attached to a property. Each is handled in a different manner. It is essential for both property owners and government authorities to understand the easements listed in property deed documentation. 

An example of easement access in action is water resource management infrastructure. A municipal water company may have an easement to access the private property and place pipes running through the property in order to best serve the utility needs of the community. The property owner remains the title owner, but the utility company’s easement will also be listed in the property paperwork. 

Easements are not always written into property deeds. In this case, other legal actions take place to determine access and use. Sometimes acquisitions or access don’t go as planned. A government agency will work with private property owners in an attempt to negotiate rights-of-way or other easement issues, but when these fail, the use of eminent domain could be the next step. 

Utility easement rights in Texas

In Texas, utility easements are regulated by both the state and municipalities. State law covers utility company access to both easements and rights-of-way. A local code or ordinance may require additional actions. TXDoT also provides extensive resources on overlapping jurisdiction.

OEI Undertands the Process

Our work in various public and private sectors has given us the knowledge and skill needed to navigate complicated processes. When it comes to updating current infrastructure or implementing new systems, the OEI team expertly coordinates among overlapping jurisdictions, including detailed research to understand the utility easement rights and needs of all parties. 

Contact OEI today to ensure a streamlined process when managing your community’s infrastructure needs.