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What is a Drainage Easement?

Sonia Nair May 12, 2019
A drainage easement imposes some restrictions on the property holder, on using the property. Here is a brief overview about the various aspects of this easement.
It is a common fact that an easement is the right to use another person's property, for a specific purpose, without possessing it. In other words, the easement holder can enjoy a limited right to use the property of another, for a particular purpose.
The most common type of easement is the right to way, which can be like a shared driveway that is common for the property holder and his/her neighbor. It can be an exclusive driveway for the neighbor and is not used by the property holder. There are other types, like solar easement, electrical power line easement, aviation easement, and sidewalk easement.
Now, you know that right to use a part of another person's property for a specific purpose, can be obtained through an easement. The purpose, for which an easement is created, may vary from one type to another.
In case of a drainage easement, the purpose is to maintain proper drainage. In other words, the right to use a part of another person's property for the purpose of maintaining drainage is called drainage easement.
In most cases, such easement right is enjoyed by the municipality or a private party responsible for maintaining the drainage of the area. Such easements may include a culvert that is connected to the common drainage system. In some cases, this easement is created for free flow of excess water over a part of the property.
This type of easement is always included as attachments to the property deed, and this means the easement remains intact, even if the property is transferred or sold. Such easement is also associated with some restrictions and responsibilities on the easement holder as well as the owner of the property.

Drainage Easement Restrictions

● As the drainage system may require repair or maintenance, that part of property (with the drainage) must be kept open and readily accessible. This results in restrictions on the owner of the property in making any constructions (like a fence, wall, building, etc.) that can cause obstruction to the easement.
● The owner must also refrain from any activities that can cause damage to the easement. For example, if you plant trees near the area, the roots can cause blockage to the water flow or cause damage to the system.
Even construction of buildings and efforts to regrade soil may cause damage to the pipes. The owner may also be required to keep the gratings clear, so that the water flow is not impeded.
● In return of the easement right, the easement holder has the responsibility of timely repair. While the owner has to prevent any activities that can cause damage to the drainage system, the responsibility of maintenance is often shared by the owner of the property and the easement holder.
This is only a brief overview about the basic terms and conditions related to a drainage easement. There can be variations, according to individual cases. These terms and conditions will be provided in the covenant. So, it is very important to discuss these clauses, while making the covenant.