Florida’s Fifth DCA Weighs In On The Scope of Easements For Ingress And Egress

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals has issued a decision concerning the dimensions and scope of an easement.  In Condron, et.al. v. Arey, et.al.,  the Fifth District Court of Appeals held that an easement for ingress and egress over an area described as a “10 foot easement over and across a parcel of land” means that the dimension of the easement is the entire 10 foot wide area and it rejected an argument that a path for pedestrians within the easement area was sufficient.  The use of the terms “upon” and “across” indicate that the width of the easement was co-terminus with the right of ingress and egress and therefore the owners of the servient estate cannot obstruct or encroach upon the easement by constructing sprinkler systems or planting shrubs and trees.  In addition, with respect to the allowable use of the easement, the Fifth District Court explained that the “scope of an easement is defined by what is granted, not by what is excluded, and all rights not granted are retained by the grantor.”  Thus, a generalized right of ingress and egress, which prohibits only vehicular or motorized ingress and egress, should permit the use of the easement for ingress and egress walking with or riding on horses.

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