How to Find Easement Information on a Property

By Aaron Gifford ; Updated March 21, 2017
Car on bridge

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Easements will be explained in the legal description of the property contained within the property deed. The deed will specify any rights that allow someone or some agency the right to use a property that they don't own. Easements are generally considered permanent and a deed covenant may protect someone's right to continue to use the property even if its ownership changes. Obtain a copy of the deed from the county clerk or assessor's office if you don't have one.

Visit the assessor's office at the local town or city hall. Provide the address and a description of the property. The easement may be limited to one parcel or a multi-parcel property, and not on the same lot where the house is located, for example. The assessor should be able to confirm the precise dimensions and location of the easement. Write down the tax identification number of the parcel or parcels to access additional information from other departments.

Ask the municipal engineer, highway superintendent or head of the Department of Public Works for more information. Those officials should have detailed maps with descriptions of the easement, even if the easement is granted to a utility company or a private group instead of the town or city.

Stop at the county clerk/recorder's office and ask to see what leases and easement/right-of-way information are on file. Easements for mineral and gas rights should be available, in addition to waterfront easements for property owners who have rights to use a nearby lake. The history of easements can be traced back in old deed and title books maintained by the clerk's office, and the county planning or tax mapping office may have a Geographic Information System (GIS) database where a map of all easements in an area can be displayed on a computer screen.

About the Author

Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.