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How does an easement affect my property rights in Delaware?

It may seem like once you buy a piece of real estate, what happens on that land is up to you, as long as it is not against the law and does not bother your neighbors. The reality is that the land could be subject to something called an easement that could affect the rights you have over the property.

Essentially, an easement is an agreement that a property owner makes with another party, generally in exchange for some form of compensation. Some easements allow other parties to use part of your land, such as for a road. Under other easements, the owner agrees not to do something on his or her land.

That is the type of easement that officials in Delaware’s New Castle County are planning to arrange with the owners of two tracts of farmland near Port Penn. Under the plan, in exchange for $6.6 million, the owners will promise not to use the land for anything besides farming.

The idea is to prevent the owners from developing the land for other uses, such as residential or commercial real estate. The plan is somewhat controversial, with some saying it is overly expensive. New Castle County is hoping to get $3 million from a federal conservation program that helps pay for these sorts of easements to offset the costs.

Readers should be aware that a piece of property they buy could have an easement on it. This could affect their usage of the land or the sale price.

Source: The News Journal, “Pricey farmland deal moves forward,” Jeff Montgomery, June 24, 2014

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