DEFINITION of 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. The right of egress is most commonly found in real estate law.
BREAKING DOWN Right of Egress
The rights of ingress and egress apply regardless of the type of property whether it is owner-occupied or rental. These rights are generally used in the context of an easement, which is the right to use someone'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.
Why the Right of Egress Is Significant in Real Estate Law
The right of egress 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.
This circumstance 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 real estate. This could mean gaining access to a private road that leads to the property but passes through land that is owned by others. If the owner of a store sets up shop in an area that is entirely surrounded by other properties, they would need the right of egress in order to leave their own store.
The right of egress can 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 a property and run with the land. This 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.