You might have decided to split up your land into several plots to sell to home builders. Or, you might be dividing your ranch equally among your kids to avoid them fighting over ownership of the whole thing. No matter the reason for doing it, dividing up a plot of land can be more complicated than most people think. There are a few challenges you should be aware of before you sit down to carve up your property.
Don’t accidentally create an easement
An easement is the legal right to use a part of someone else’s land. For example, if Farmer A has an easement to use Farmer B’s driveway to reach his property, Farmer B can’t sue Farmer A for trespassing for using that driveway.
There are different types of easements. Some of them are created on purpose, through the signing of a contract. Others can be created by accident, such as when a rancher is careless in dividing up his land into separate plots.
If you split up your ranch into separate plots, make sure that each plot touches a public road. If one of your plots is totally landlocked, then the new owner of that plot can get an easement by necessity from the court. This is the legal right to use one of his neighbor’s land to reach his own.
If you want to avoid the possibility of the new plot owners suing each other over the right to trespass on each other’s land, it’s a good idea to give each plot its own private access.
Make sure you check your local subdivision requirements
Every town and county has different rules that govern the subdivision of property. There might be certain requirements concerning the size each lot can be and their access to electricity and water, to name a couple of examples.
It’s important that you check these local rules before you start subdividing your property to make sure that you’re in compliance.
It’s also a good idea to consult an attorney when planning your lot division. They will be able to make sure you are complying with your local regulations, to help you avoid legal problems down the road. The last thing you want is to sell a piece of your land only to have all that money you made go towards a huge lawsuit.