I am planning to buy a property in a community and the survey shows that there is a utility easement in that property that spans 10 feet from the road. How do I know what kind of utility easement this is and who owns it?

What are the kinds of easements that can affect future selling of this property in like 10 years ?

  • 3
    The obvious people to ask are the realtor and the surveyor; they are legally required to give you accurate information. Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 13:53
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2 Answers 2


Most utility easements are a matter of public record, or can be determined by inspection of the property. Some are created by statute. The full text of all easements of record is typically disclosed in a title report provided in the due diligence period when real property is under contract but has not yet closed, and an seriously problematic easement could be an out from an otherwise binding real estate contract.

You might also want to confer with your architect as the existence of easements could impact the kind of floor plan that is possible on a site and where the footprint of a building or fence could be located.

It would be rare for the existence of a utility easement to impair the marketability or value of real property. Almost all urban and suburban real estate, and lots of rural real estate has utility easements and even if there isn't one when you buy the land, a utility normally has the right to obtain one using powers of eminent domain.

There are rare exceptions when it would be material in odd factual situations, but it wouldn't be a common issue to worry much about.


It depends slightly where the easement is; the right to dig up 10 feet of your front garden to get at the cables is not as serious as the right to excavate your basement. But I would think it unlikely that this will have a serious effect on value: if one of your services goes wrong, do you really want the right to deny the repairmen access?

If you are really concerned, the obvious thing to do is to ask the agent for details of the easement or ask the seller for an indemnity in case of problems (or both).

  • 1
    Counterpoint: long distance pipelines are also utility easements. "The Mariner East 2, the first of the two new pipelines, is nearing completion, though the project has been interrupted and pushed back several times because of regulatory and legal challenges. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in 2014 affirmed the project as a public utility, allowing it to obtain easements by eminent domain.". inquirer.com/philly/business/energy/…
    – user662852
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 14:34

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