Servitude/Easement vs Right of Way

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  • #3826

    cellgrel
    Participant

    What is the difference between a servitude or easement and a right of way?

    I’ve seen the term right of way in some old family successions. How does such “ownership” compare to holding the title to property? Is a ROW subject to property tax? Are there any requirements to maintain ownership of a ROW? If the LaDOTD wishes to build a road across one’s ROW are they required to compensate for that taking or usage?

    Thanks.

  • #3827

    Lex
    Keymaster

    “Servitude” is a very wide-ranging legal term that can include personal servitudes and predial servitudes (involving land). It is really a subject that can take up a full law school course.

    For our purposes, a right of way is a type of servitude. It is usually a property right that runs with the land from one owner to another. Right of way can also be created by law if someone land-locks another land owner by the way he sells or sub-divides his own property. There are all types of property servitudes, like a servitude of drainage or even of drip.

    A right of way can also exist in favor of public roads to allow maintenance of the road and the shoulder. If a public entity takes a right of way by eminent domain, then the owner of the land must be compensated for the fair market value of the land. That would extend to the taking of someone else’s right of way in order to use it for a public purpose. Utility companies will often have a servitude or right of way adjacent to the public right of way. In those cases the owner of the land still owns the property, but the utility has the right to access the property for maintenance of the utility.

    I don’t know if this answers your questions -it is really a broad area.

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