What is “Runs with the Land”?:
The legal doctrine of “runs with the land” refers to a principle that attaches certain rights, obligations, or restrictions to a piece of real property rather than to a specific individual. In other words, these rights or obligations are not personal to the current owner but are tied to the property itself. Meaning that when a property changes hands, these rights and obligations automatically transfer to the new owner.
This legal principle applies to well share agreements and so it is essential to understand how the rights and obligations regarding the shared well will be transferred from one owner to the next.
Key Elements of the Doctrine: To better understand the “runs with the land” doctrine, it’s essential to understand its key elements:
1. Intent of the Parties: The parties involved must have the intent to bind the right or obligation to the property. This intent is typically demonstrated through clear and unambiguous language in legal documents, such as well share agreements, deeds, leases, or grants of easement.
2. Touch and Concern: For a right or obligation to run with the land, it must have a direct relationship with the land. In legal terms, it must “touch and concern” the property in question. This means that the right or obligation should impact the property’s value, use, or enjoyment. A water well greatly impacts property value, use, and enjoyment.
Examples of Rights that Run with the Land:
1. Easements that Run with the Land: An easement is a common example of a right that runs with the land. An easement allows someone other than the property owner to use a portion of the land, such as for access, utilities, or drainage. When an easement runs with the land, it remains in effect even when the property changes ownership.
2. Covenants and Restrictions: Property covenants and restrictions are often included in homeowner association agreements or neighborhood development plans. These covenants can address issues like architectural design, land use, and maintenance requirements. When they run with the land, they are binding on all subsequent owners of the property.
3. Well Share Agreements: Arizona well share agreements run with the land. Meaning the rights and obligations of the agreement pass to a new owner even if the owner did not sign the existing well share agreement.
Benefits of “Runs with the Land”:
The “runs with the land” doctrine provides stability and predictability in property transactions. It ensures that parties are aware of existing rights and obligations related to a property, reducing disputes and potential legal conflicts. This principle is particularly valuable in providing homeowners with a legal right to well water.
While the “runs with the land” doctrine offers numerous advantages, it can also lead to challenges, if the underlying agreement was poorly written. It may seem counterintuitive but a lengthy and detailed agreement can often provide more clarity than a short or vaguely written agreement.
Contact Us: If you have questions about how a well share agreement or other water rights can impact your real estate purchase/sale, then contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or message us HERE.
The Dunaway Law Group provides this information as a service to clients and other friends for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers. Additionally, this Firm limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.