Property Rights and Responsibilities

Posted by Team - 09 March, 2015


Property Rights and ResponsibilitiesThose who live near or above a pipeline know well the impact such an installation can have on their land. If a pipeline company should approach you requesting the use of your property, you need to understand your rights as well as your responsibilities.

Obtaining the Right of Way

Although many believe no pipeline construction can ensue without permission in the form of an easement from the landowner, this is not entirely true. The pipeline company must at the very least make the effort, but if it cannot reach an agreement with the property owner, it may subsequently attempt to exert its power through the doctrine of eminent domain.

To succeed at this endeavor, the company must submit data proving that it has not only a pressing need for the installation but also a valid plan in place to alleviate any adverse effects of a spill or leakage on the environment.

Where farmland is concerned, the potential for disaster is especially great. Before acquiring any right of way through cultivated acreage, the pipeline company may additionally need to negotiate a state-approved acknowledgment of its obligation to mitigate any future agricultural impact.

The Landowner's Responsibilities

Once the pipeline is in place, the landowner must take particular precautions in the name of general safety. One such restriction pertains to what he can and cannot construct on the property. The pipeline company's need to easily perform inspections and make repairs may interfere with the placement of landowner constructs such as:

- Outbuildings.
- Patios.
- Fences.
- Swimming pools.
- Anchored playground equipment.

It is also the landowner's responsibility to have the location of the pipe and other underground utilities professionally located and marked and to relay this information to any contractors who labor on the property. This will lower the chances of rupturing the pipeline should there be any need for digging.

Living above or near a pipeline may present its difficulties, but if the situation should prove unavoidable, a clear understanding of all rights and responsibilities can put the landowner in a somewhat less onerous position. 

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Topics: Real Estate

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