The Ultimate Guide to Ingress and Egress

By: ROS Team January 16, 2022

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Ingress and egress are unique words that you may not hear very often in traditional real estate conversations. Let’s dive into what ingress and egress are and explore how they work.

What are Egresses and Ingresses?

In real estate jargon, ingress means the right to enter someone else’s property and egress means to exit someone else’s property. A property’s deed will also include ingress and egress details because property ownership is not always guaranteed access to the property. For example, you may have a shared driveway, or your property might be surrounded by other properties.  In that case, you would need permission to use another person’s property to access your property.

Egresses and Ingresses

Easements for Ingress and Egress

Easements are the legal right to use another person’s property. In other words, easements work in conjunction with property ingressing and egressing. If someone has issues accessing their property, an easement can be utilized to grant the property owner rights of ingress and egress. Suppose the ingress and egress issues are not discussed in the deed to the property and someone has not secured and registered an easement through local agencies. In that case, the property owner can obtain an easement to use the land.

Easements are often used on private roads that allow the property owner access to their property. It will ensure you can access main or public roads nearby. Easements are treated similarly to property titles and have to be officially recorded in the city in which they are granted. Easements are transferable to new owners should you ever sell the property.

A common example of an easement is the rights utility companies have to access private property. Easements permit them to enter private property to replace or repair utility equipment and to check meters. It is not even subject to your permission to grant the easement to the utility company because the law gives the utility company a required easement in most jurisdictions.

Types of Easement

There are Two Types of Easement:

Affirmative Easements:

An easement where you get additional permissions for land use. For example, you have permission to cross over a piece of property as well as permission to fish in the neighbor’s lake.

Negative Easements:

Negative easements restrict the property owner’s use of their land. It usually involves activities that may negatively impact other properties.

How to Obtain Rights of Ingress and Egress

You Can Obtain the Rights of Ingress and Egress in a Few Different Ways:

Obtain Through a Property’s Deed —

Egress or ingress rights are most likely already included in the deed to your property. In such cases, you get the ingressing and egressing rights automatically when you buy a property.

Obtain Through an Easement —

If you don’t obtain the right in the deed itself, you can obtain it through an easement. Check the public records to see if the property already has an easement. Permission is usually tied to the land. If you don’t find an easement in the property records, you will need to establish an arrangement with the property owner.

Obtain Through a Land-Use Agreement —

Another way to get rights is through a land-use agreement. This is a kind of license that grants similar rights to an easement except it provides rights with greater flexibility in outlining how the land will be used. Specific terms are drafted for the use of grounds, such as weight of vehicles, potential upkeep fees for the space in use, noise, and typical use.

Land-Use Agreement

Why are Ingress and Egress Easements Important?

Ingress and egress easements give property owners the right to access their property without using another person’s land. Some units of property are landlocked and the owners are unable to access the public road to exit and enter their own property. If a landlocked unit does not already have an easement over adjacent property, you would be required to obtain it. This is primarily the case in rural areas where a large piece of land is subdivided into smaller parcels.

You can even find landlocked lots in commercial enterprises where a small store may be landlocked by neighbors on both sides. It would be problematic if someone bought a property that they couldn’t access because doing so would mean being on another person’s property without permission. With that in mind, it is important to establish ingress or egress rights so you can avoid trespassing on other people’s property.

Ingress and Egress When a Home Becomes a Compound

When multiple houses share a single piece of property for mutual activities, it is called a compound. Compounds are made up of adjacent homes on separate parcels and most of the compounds are created by purchasing adjacent homes. This is a common practice in a neighborhood where individual lots are relatively small. Sometimes a house and a converted garage are also treated as a compound.

Buying a compound property is not that good an idea, since you will have to compromise on your privacy as adjacent homes and outsiders will claim ingress and egress rights on the compound property. You may not wish to purchase a house in the middle of someone’s family community.

Ingress and Egress on New Construction

If someone has taken the ingress and egress easement after the fact, that easement facility remains between the property owner or the neighbors and the person who requested easement rights at the time. That does not apply to the new occupants if any new occupant tried to claim or decided to expand.

Public Road Access

Technically, everyone can access the public road. But having a property on a public road doesn’t necessarily mean that the property also has easement rights. For example, a house faces a public street and has a rear garage that leads to another alley behind the house.

All houses that use the alley may enjoy single ingress and egress points rather than a specific ingress and egress point for individual properties.  It means that when selling or buying a property. You should negotiate the ingress and egress easement rights. If you want to alter the property for convenience or want to create a driveway for easier entry or exit.

Easements Rights aren’t Always Forever

Bear in mind that ingress and egress easement rights aren’t necessarily forever. Like, if the reason for which easement was granted in the first place is no longer there or the land involved was abandoned. The easement can be terminated. So, if you are told that there is an easement for a property you want to buy. Make sure you visit the place as well as look for it in the public record. When it comes to egress rights, always look for written easement evidence.

Always Make Sure for Driveways and Parking

Access to parking and driveways is where things become confusing. You might assume that you have the right to use the same parking or driveway of the neighbor which the previous owner has used for years. This is called a prescriptive easement. It means that the easement was acquired through continued use but without the permission of the owner. Laws differ in different states on the subject of the time period and unrecorded. Or unwritten easements always fall in the grey area. So, it always goes in your best interest to confirm easement in the public record.

Be Diligent When Obtaining Rights of Ingress and Egress

You’ll need to verify the ingress and egress rights in place for the property when buying it. Even if it seems evident that access is available. Do your due diligence to confirm the ingress and egress rights are documented. Don’t be surprised if lenders also request proof of egress and ingress when you apply for a loan.

When conducting a title search, it’s a good idea to attach documentation that supports your ingress and egress rights. Most likely, you will find such requests on the deed, land-use agreement, or in the form of a recorded easement. If the title search fails to establish the ingress and egress rights. You’ll want to ask the seller to provide you with a copy.

Final Thoughts

Ingressing and egressing rights are essential to maximizing the use of any property. Make sure you’re diligent about what rights others have concerning your property. And what rights do you have concerning your neighbors’ properties? So you can avoid any inconveniences with accessing your property.