Ranch Land Easement Interpretation

Land Use lawyer Austin texas

Nov 24, 2012 — by Jeff Mundy
Tags: Land Use

An easement is a non-possessory interest in land that authorizes its holder to use the property for a particular purpose. The holder or dominant estate may only make such use of the easement as is "reasonably necessary to fairly enjoy the rights expressly granted," lest the easement effectively become a possessory land interest. When considering an express easement, we look to the language reserving it to determine the scope of the easement. Applying basic principles of contract construction and interpretation, we give the terms of the easement their plain and ordinary meaning when they are not expressly defined. We read the terms of an easement as a whole to determine the parties' intentions and to carry out the purpose behind the easement's creation. Any ambiguities in the language or parties' intent are construed against the drafting party, and we adopt the interpretation that is the least burdensome to the non-drafting party.

We conclude that a question of fact exists as to whether, when the easement was created, the parties intended the access easement to be free of gates or cattle guards. What may be considered a proper and reasonable use, as well as what may be necessary to the easement holder's beneficial use and enjoyment, is a question of fact.

McKenna v. Caldwell, (Ct. App. - Eastland, 2012)

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