Easements by Necessity, Do Michigan Courts Require Further Steps when Purposed for Entry to Utilities?


A current unpublished opinion by the Michigan Court docket of Appeals, Burns v. Romaya,brings to mild a problem to pay attention to when encountering an easement for utility entry below the legislation of necessity.

Typically talking, utility easements are fairly frequent and allow the entry or crossing of property to put in, preserve, function, and examine utility infrastructure.  Examples of such easements can be permitted entry to a water pipeline or a powerline. Whereas easements for utility entry could also be created and enforced via written devices, sometimes easements shall be established via implication or operation of legislation.  In different phrases, landowners could encounter eventualities requiring entry or entry over different property with out written permission. Such a state of affairs would concern easements by necessity.

Easements by necessity are created by operation of legislation and exist when a parcel of property is landlocked or an easement throughout one other’s property is in any other case essential to entry the parcel.  In Burns v. Romaya, unpublished opinion issued by the Michigan Court docket of Appeals on August 4, 2022 (Docket No. 358480), the plaintiff sought an easement that ran below the defendant’s property, to be able to entry a sanitary sewage line.  The plaintiff’s property, adjoining to the defendant’s parcel, was meant to turn into a used automotive lot, which required the plaintiff to attach it to a sanitary line pursuant to native zoning ordinances. The Court docket of Appeals denied the plaintiff’s easement by necessity as a result of he failed to supply adequate proof establishing all the necessities below this specific easement.

It’s not unusual for personal landowners to acquire or search out easements to be able to entry or utilities comparable to a sewage line. Nonetheless, the method and navigation in acquiring such entry is the place points could come up relying on the kind of easement a landowner could search.

Whereas the State of Michigan acknowledges easements for utility entry, when they’re sought via claims of necessity, such easements don’t maintain the identical recognition by the courts. The Michigan Supreme Court docket has acknowledged as a lot when addressing a previous ruling by the Court docket of Appeals in a 2008 case, Tomecek v. Bavas.  The Michigan Supreme Court docket acknowledged, “Concerning the Court docket of Appeals dicta creating an easement by necessity for utilities, we decline to handle whether or not such an easement is obtainable in Michigan.”

Nonetheless, there are eventualities the place a property proprietor is left with in search of an easement by necessity for entry to those sorts of utilities.   Due to this fact, it’s all the extra vital in establishing the requisite components.

At Dalton & Tomich, we’ve expertise and experience in navigating advanced land use legal guidelines regarding easements.  When you’ve got questions concerning easements, please don’t hesitate to contact our workplace at (313) 859-6000.  We might be pleased to talk with you.



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