A house on a landlocked tract (Property A) in North Carolina is for sale by realtor. Property A is accessed from the state road by a driveway, the end of which is constructed on an easement granted across an adjacent property (Property B). The easement is worded to allow the owners of Property A to

pass and repass on foot, vehicles, or otherwise through, including the construction of necessary utilities for lands of [owners of Property A]... said easement hereby conveyed accordingly facilitating access usage of land lying between the [owners of Property A] and the access land of the [owners of Property B].

Does the seller of Property A (or their real estate agent) have the right to place a "for sale" sign on Property B advertising the sale of Property A, without the permission of the owners of Property B? The sign in question is located on Property B, next to the end of the driveway leading to Property A, but both within the easement described above, and within the right-of-way for the state road.

(In other words, the sign is exactly where you would expect such a sign to be, and, this being a rural area, there is no issue with anyone being confused about which property is for sale. The question is just about whether the easement or some aspect of state law gives the seller a right to place the sign without the permission of the owner of the other property the easement runs over.)

I'd be interested in whether this easement, or any aspect of state law, has any effect here. I've done a little research on both, but haven't turned up anything relevant.

  • The language of the easement permits passing over the easement by foot or vehicles or otherwise (perhaps "otherwise" means by pogo stick), but does not grant other rights. Thus, the easement user cannot place items on the easement lands, nor leave objects there after passing over the lands. Why do you think posting a "for sale" sign on the easement property might be OK? – DavidSupportsMonica Jul 17 '20 at 17:35
  • Isn't the sign either on Property B or on the state road allotment, not both? – DJohnM Jul 17 '20 at 20:57
  • @DavidSupportsMonica I actually don't think it would be ok, but I was trying to word the question neutrally. (The person who placed the sign in the real world events the question is based on apparently thought the easement gave them that right. :-) ) I agree that the plain language of the easement doesn't cover signs, but (playing devil's advocate) I could be made to believe that there might be a provision in the state statutes or in the case law that reads a right to place signs into a "driveway" easement. I haven't found any evidence of that, but IANAL. – user32495 Jul 17 '20 at 22:22
  • @DJohnM Good question! I assumed it would be both because the preamble of the easement document describes it as "a permanent easement over and through [B] to the center of the right-of-way of [state road]". However, upon reading again, the agreement section does not physically describe the easement other than referencing a survey conducted at the time, and the survey depicts the easement as ending at the edge of the state's right-of-way. I don't know what the implications of that are for the true extent of the easement, or for the answer to this question. – user32495 Jul 17 '20 at 22:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.