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What to Consider in Establishing Right of Way Agreements

Biking thru a ranch in Weatherford, TX

Before buying a ranch or farm in Weatherford, TX or nearby areas, one of the things you should look into is access to the property. If it is landlocked, that is, surrounded by private land on all sides, you may need to legally obtain permission to cross another property to get to it.

The easiest solution to this type of situation is a right of way agreement. Right of way is a type of easement giving you permission to pass along a specific path that cuts through another party’s property.

Your would-be neighbor may be willing to enter into such an agreement with or without monetary compensation. Whichever the case, do not rely on just a verbal agreement, which can easily be denied by the other party in the future. Make sure there’s a deed that clearly spells out the rights and intentions of both parties on the use of the right of way to avoid disputes in the future.

Some of the most important details that should be spelled out in the deed are:

  1. Location
  2. The exact location of the path must be specifically defined, including its width and boundaries. Commission a survey if needed to mark off these bounds.

  3. The specific uses of the path
  4. The uses of the path must be clearly defined. Is it a pedestrian-only path? Can it be used by different services, such as maintenance or construction services? Are there restrictions on the kind of vehicles that can go through the path?

  5. Who can use the right of way?
  6. Is access limited only to you or can the property owner use it as well? Can your guests and the owner’s guests also use the path?

  7. Duration of the easement
  8. The duration of the right of way must be stated in the agreement. It can last indefinitely or “perpetually”. It can also be given only within a specified period, or until another event is completed. For example, the right of way may be allowed only until an ongoing public road construction to the property is completed.

  9. Maintenance and improvements
  10. The agreement should specify who’s responsible for maintaining the right of way, including identifying repair and maintenance needs and paying for the cost of repairs. The agreement must also state if either or both parties can implement improvements, such as paving or putting in a drainage system.

  11. Transfer of the easement
  12. If you sell your property in the future, can you transfer the right of way to the buyer as well? Can your heirs or successors also benefit from the right of way?

  13. Change in use
  14. Can you change or expand the use of the right of way if you change the use of your property in the future? Can the property owner change or expand the use of the right of the way without giving you prior notice?

  15. Personal injury compensation
  16. If a third party gets hurt or injured, or suffers damage or loss while using the right of way, who’s responsible for paying compensation to the injured party? Are you or the property owner liable to pay compensation if either of you suffers harm or loss?

Make sure to consult a lawyer about the provisions that you should include in your right of way agreement. As one of the leading real estate services in Weatherford, TX, we at HBS Real Estate can also help you with important points to consider. To learn more about us, don’t hesitate to call 817.550.6666 or leave us a note here.