Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Washington

We live in Washington State bought our house about 8 years ago. Our house was built in 1987 but our house and shop were built over the property line on a 20ft easement. We are wanting to do some remodeling but the the building department say no because we are on the easement. We went to the title company that we went through when we bought the property but they said we have to go to the City because they let them build it there and the City says go to the Title Co because they are the ones who signed off on the title. What are we to do? and why do we have to pay to have this fixed we didn't build the house here.

Asked on 9/13/12, 1:03 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Earl Morriss Land Law Washington, PLLC

The first question would be - is the easement an express easement - meaning is it a written document? Second, if it is a written easement, was it filed in the public record - so as to give notice of its existence? Third, if it was an easement in the public record did it show up in your title report - thus giving you actual notice of the easement?

If it was not in the public record the title company is most likely off the hook. If it was in the record and they did not disclose it to you in their report, they are on the hook.

Regardless of the type of easement, you are currently on the hook to not "defeat the purpose" of the easement - meaning that you are going to have to deal with it. And getting easements to go away in Washington can be very difficult - by far the best way is to have the easement holder (or holders) give up their easement rights.

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Answered on 9/13/12, 1:48 pm

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