What Is Right of Egress?

The right of egress is the legal right to exit or leave a property. The right of egress is usually used in conjunction with the right of ingress, which means the legal right to enter a property. Ingress and egress rights are important to homeowners since they allow access to their property. The right of egress and ingress are terms most commonly found in real estate law.

Key Takeaways

  • The right of egress is the legal right to exit or leave a property while the right of ingress is the legal right to enter a property.
  • Ingress and egress rights are important to homeowners since they allow access to their property.
  • A right of egress is allowed only via an easement, which is the right to use someone else's property for a specific purpose.

Understanding Right of Egress

The rights of ingress and egress apply regardless of the type of property, whether it is owner-occupied or a rental. Ingress/egress rights are generally obtained via an easement, which is the right to use someone else's property for a specific purpose. For example, ingress and egress easements may govern the use of a shared driveway or the use of a private road to reach one's property.

Ingress, Egress, and Easements

Ingress and egress easements can become of special importance in property disputes and instances wherein a property is landlocked by surrounding parcels owned by other parties. Without the right of egress and the right of ingress, the owner of a landlocked property would essentially commit civil trespassing each time they enter and leave the property.

Ingress/egress circumstances can occur if the owner of large tracts of land subdivided and sold off parcels while retaining large pieces of the property. The new owners of the properties that were sold would need rights of ingress and egress to access their new homes. In other words, the new owners would need access to a private road that leads to their properties but passes through land that is owned by others. For example, if the owner of a store sets up shop in an area that is surrounded by other properties, an ingress/egress easement would be needed in order to enter and leave the store.

Special Considerations

Ingress and egress rights can also affect access to resources that are available on a piece of land. If there is a water source on a property that neighboring landowners have rights to access, they may need the rights of ingress and egress to make use of it.

Such rights might be included in the deed for the property and run with the land, which are rights that are tied to the land regardless of who owns it. This covenant would grant any future owners the right to egress without the need for negotiating terms with the other property owners for access to and from their own property.

Disputes can still arise where a property owner blocks the access of another property owner to their own land. This may develop because of issues between the owners, such as noise from vehicles that cross the property or disagreements over space and usage of the area by both parties. A court may issue an injunction to stop the activity that blocked off access to the property.