Prescriptive easement requirements
A prescriptive easement is created by an actual, open, continuous, exclusive, and adverse use of another's property for a statutory period of 15 years.
- "Actual" means the use occurred, rather than being planned or threatened
- "Open" means the use is know to the owner
- "Adverse" means the use is without the owner's expressed permission
- "Exclusive" means used only by the individual or entity claiming the rights
- "Continuous" means it occurs on a regular basis.*
*Note: In rural or undeveloped areas, occasional and sporadic use may give rise to a prescriptive easement. The exact definition of this varies somewhat based on the nature of the use, and what constitutes a "continuous use" would ultimately be determined in a court of law. The 1999 case State of Minnesota, Department of Natural Resources, Appellant, vs. Transport Designs, Inc., Respondent, Ray Riihiluoma, et al., Intervenors. Files No. C497370 (32kb PDF) ruled on the definition of "continuity."