CATIC has recently reported an increase in the number of Vermont claims relating to access. Access issues arise in one of two forms:
1. The Owner/Insured believes that their land is not burdened by a neighboring parcel which asserts rights in the Insured premises; or
2. The Owner/Insured is denied access by a neighboring owner who asserts that their land is not burdened by Owner/Insured's purported easement.
What can you do to reduce/avoid access issues for your clients?
When conducting a title search, determine whether the searched property has public access over a municipal or state road (direct access). If so, that is sufficient.
If access is by indirect, e.g. by easement, determine whether access was properly granted or reserved and whether the access easement is appurtenant to the property you are searching. If the easement was granted, you will need to conduct a 40 year title search on the servient estate(s) affected by the easement!
Also, be sure to carefully review all recorded plats and easements to determine whether the subject property might be burdened by any easements for access. Fully disclose the same to your client including whether or not there is a recorded maintenance agreement.
Finally, if you determine that the subject property is burdened by an any easement, including an easement for access, be sure to disclose that the easement(s) of record will/may have an impact on where your client can locate any planned improvements.
Please call Andy or Liz with any questions related to access.