While most of the changes included in the 2016 ALTA/ASCM Minimum Standard Detail Requirements update are reasonably straightforward, some require a bit more clarification. One topic that needs some explanation is the way an ALTA survey treats the topic of appurtenant easements.
Derived from the Anglo-French word “apurtenir,” meaning “to belong,” an appurtenant easement runs with the land. An easement can either benefit or burden a property. For example, a landlocked parcel may not have access to a public road except through an easement that would benefit that parcel but burden adjacent landowners. This particular type of easement is referred to as an “easement by necessity.”
Part of the survey’s optional Table A (item 19), appurtenant easements – also known as offsite easements – are required to be disclosed if the surveyor is provided title work that discloses those easements. Since this is an optional item, a survey client must specifically elect to have appurtenant easements disclosed.
As in the 2011 Standards, both the benefits and burdens of appurtenant easements must be disclosed according to the 2016 Standards. The principal difference relates to wording and scope.
In the 2011 standards, appurtenant easements relating to improvements and monuments placed are denoted. In the 2016 revision, the language is clear with regard to disclosure of all offsite easements that benefit or burden the property.
Combining Table A items
From a practical standpoint, the disclosure of appurtenant easements in Table A Item 19 can be combined with other ALTA survey elements, including Table A Item 1, which requires the placing of monuments at the corners of the appurtenant easement. Combining Table A Item 19 with Item 8 requires all the substantial features of the easement to be disclosed. These elements can include signage, pools, landscaped zones, and refuse collection areas. Incorporating Item 11 in Table A will require denoting the location of above ground utilities on the appurtenant easement.
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