What is Landlocked

In the context of real estate, landlocked refers to a piece of property that is inaccessible via public thoroughfare other than via an adjacent lot. This description applies to a vacant lot that is located behind a strip mall and can only be reached by walking through the mall. Landlocked property is secured, as it is surrounded by other land.
What Is Landlocked and What Does Landlocked Means in Real Estate?

• Landlocked, in the context of real estate, refers to a parcel of land that is inaccessible from a public thoroughfare other than via an adjacent lot.

• Landlocked property is locked, meaning it is surrounded by other property and can only be accessed via the surrounding property.

• Landlocked parcels are often the result of subdivisions or the division of a bigger parcel of land into smaller parcels that are sold separately.

• Landlocked property owners can obtain an easement that grants the right to cross neighboring land in order to access the public road.

Understanding About Landlocked and Landlocked Property

Typically, landlocked parcels result from subdivisions or the division of a larger parcel of land into smaller parcels that are sold separately. Idealistically, each of the smaller parcels would have access to a public right-of-way, but this is not always possible.

For instance, a seller may wish to subdivide a large square parcel with an undevelopable landscape feature in the center, such as a mountain. As an alternative to carving out a parcel that provides road access to the mountain, it could be left landlocked.

Landlocked real estate properties can arise when land that has been in the same family for generations is divided among family members. Eventually, when properties are sold, it becomes necessary for them to be owned separately. Access to the landlocked property may not have been a problem when the surrounding properties are been owned by the same family; however, once the ownership of some of the surrounding properties changes, access to the landlocked property may become problematic.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Landlocked Real Estate

Due to its inaccessibility, landlocked property typically has a lower value than the surrounding properties; however, this does not mean that landlocked property is worthless. In addition, because it has a lower value, it may be a better investment for prospective buyers in expensive neighborhoods. This may provide these buyers with access to a neighborhood from which they would otherwise be priced out.

However, obtaining a loan or mortgage for a landlocked property can be challenging because banks may not finance such properties. The inaccessibility of a landlocked property to public services, such as medical and fire personnel, can discourage banks and potential buyers from pursuing a transaction.


Access to a landlocked property or parcel can be difficult for the owner; however, state and federal laws protect the right of landowners to "productive use," which generally means the right to gain access to a public road.

This is accomplished through the use of an easement, which grants the right to cross neighboring property. There are numerous easement types, some of which are easier to acquire than others. However, savvy investors who know the rules can find lucrative investments in landlocked property.

The easiest way to acquire an easement is through amicable negotiation with a nearby landowner. They may be tempted to grant a verbal promise allowing a landlocked owner to cross their property, but purchasers are advised to obtain the promise in writing.

The landlocked property owner is protected by a written easement drafted by a real estate attorney and recorded with the local deed office. A neighbour with a verbal agreement could change their mind or sell their land to a less hospitable owner.

When the landlocked parcel is offered for sale once again, the neighbor's word will carry little weight. A written permanent easement avoids all of these potential issues.

Easement by Necessity

If a neighbor refuses to sign a friendly easement or asks for excessive compensation, it may be necessary to acquire a necessity easement. A necessity easement is a court order that grants the landowner legal access to their property.

The catch is that the landlocked owner must demonstrate through a deed and title search that the landlocked property and the adjacent property were previously owned by the same individual. When the property was subdivided, the owner failed to provide the necessary road access, according to the court's ruling.

It is important to note that filing for a necessity easement will incur legal fees. In addition, the landlocked owner may be left with an irate neighbour who can appeal the ruling. There are exceptions to easements by necessity, such as federally granted land patents, some of which date back hundreds of years. To avoid becoming embroiled in legal conflicts over a landlocked property, purchasers should consult with an experienced real estate attorney.

Can You Deny Access to Landlocked Property?

No, access cannot be denied to landlocked property. There are federal and state laws that permit access to landlocked properties despite the impossibility of direct access. An easement or easement by necessity is one of the most effective ways to allow access to landlocked property.

Why Should I Invest in a Landlocked Property?

There are numerous reasons why someone might wish to invest in landlocked property. Landlocked properties have a lower market value, making them a possible entry point into an otherwise prohibitively expensive neighbourhood. If a landlocked property is adjacent to a business or business area that is likely to expand in the future, holding on to the property and selling it at a higher price when the business area enlarges is another reason to purchase such property.

What Is Severance of Unity?

When attempting to obtain an easement by necessity, the owner of a landlocked property must demonstrate "severance of unity." It demonstrates that the original landowner subdivided the property and transferred a portion to the claimant.

How To Get An Easement For The Landlocked Property

There are a variety of ways to acquire an easement granting access to landlocked property. Working with a real estate attorney who can draught a written easement agreement is crucial. This will provide landowners with increased protection.

Survey The Land

Paying a professional to survey your land is a good initial step towards acquiring an easement. During this survey, which will result in maps depicting the precise boundaries of your property, your surveyor will also unearth the recorded history of your land and its adjacent lots.

This survey could reveal whether there were access routes to your property in the past, which could make obtaining an easement easier today. If you must go to court to obtain an easement, the information contained in the survey could strengthen your attorney's case.

Communicate With The Homeowner

The simplest way to obtain an easement is to meet with the owner of the property through which you will need to create access to your land. Typically, you will be able to negotiate a deal with this owner. You may be required to pay your neighbour for the access you require, but this will be less costly and time-consuming than going to court.

Make An Offer And Bargaining

Dealing with your neighbor's property owner may require some negotiation. It is not uncommon for a property owner to reject your initial easement offer and make a counteroffer. If you are unsatisfied with this counteroffer or the price your neighbor desires for the access of the property, you will need to continue bargaining.

Consult An Attorney

Do not sign any easement agreement before consulting with a real estate attorney with experience negotiating them. It is essential to put easement agreements in writing with the guidance of real estate attorney, in case of a future dispute over access to your property, you can refer to the documents.

File A Court Order

If you and your neighbour are unable to reach an easement agreement, you may need to consult with a real estate attorney to gain access to your property. Filing a lawsuit to obtain an easement is costly, time-consuming, and stressful. If you are successful in obtaining your easement, your relationship with your neighbouring property owner may become strained. Consequently, going to court for an easement should be viewed as a last resort.

The Bottom Line: Understand About The Landlocked Property Law Before Purchasing

There are benefits and drawbacks to purchasing landlocked property. To gain access to your land, you may need to engage in lengthy negotiations with your neighbouring property owner or even engage in a legal battle. You must decide if the reduced price that typically accompanies landlocked properties is worth this potential inconvenience.


First-time landowners often find the concept of landlocked property perplexing.

How can there be land that is inaccessible by law?

There are a surprising number of landlocked properties in the United States.

What should you do if you discover or acquire one?

There have been developed a number of methods for gaining legal access to a landlocked property. If you're considering investing in a piece of property that does not have its own access, we'll walk you through everything you need to know in this article.

However, despite the fact that this may appear to be a non-issue, inflexible and unyielding neighbors can always create complications for you. Sometimes it is preferable to abandon a property than to risk being stuck with it if it cannot be resold.

Here are some facts about landlocked property.


A landlocked property is a parcel of land that cannot be reached via a public road.

This means that you, as the landowner, must traverse the property of another individual in order to access your own.

This is not only inconvenient, but it can also lead to numerous legal complications.

Typically, landlocked parcels arise after a property is subdivided or when a parcel of land is divided into lots and sold separately.

In theory, each smaller parcel should have its own public right-of-way, however this is not always the issue in landlocked real estate.

While landlocked property is not inherently worthless, as a novice investor, it is probably not the property you want.

Landlocked property typically has a lower value than the surrounding properties.

Therefore, it is essential to understand your access options when purchasing the property.

Otherwise, you may be stuck with the bought property permanently and have limited options for the use of the land or property.


In real estate, an easement (also known as an easement agreement) describes a situation in which one party may use the property of another for a specific purpose.

Usually, land access is granted in exchange for payment, so you may need to compensate the party from whom you wish to obtain an easement.

When public utility companies want to run pipes beneath private property or install telephone poles on someone's land, they typically acquire easements.

Another common type of easement is an access easement, which occurs when a person must use the property of another to access their own.

Easements are high-level agreements between a property owner and a third party, who may be an individual or an organization.

A typical easement will stipulate a method of payment from the petitioner to the owner for a particular purpose.

These agreements can sometimes be transferred with the sale of a property, so it's important to know (as a buyer) if easements already exist or if you would need to create them.


Before you consider purchasing a property that requires an easement, you should consult with a reputable local real estate attorney about the likelihood of obtaining one.

While you may not be aware of your success probability, they likely are.

If they advise you to stop pursuing a property or warn that you may lose in court, you should heed their advice.

If you lose an easement case, not only will you incur legal fees, but the land will remain landlocked and difficult to sell.

If the likelihood of obtaining an easement is low, it is probably best to avoid the landlocked property in question.

Here are the various situations you may encounter when attempting to gain legal access to a landlocked property. The neighboring landowner is unwilling to work with you.

Therefore, you must file a lawsuit to attempt to acquire the easement. This is the scenario (as described above) in which you would want an easement to be nearly certain before proceeding.

Your real estate attorney could also negotiate a settlement with the neighbouring landowner to avoid a lawsuit. You will still need to pay attorney fees, but it will be less costly than filing a lawsuit.

The simplest course of action is to inquire with the adjacent landowner about the easement. If they are amenable, you can file all of the easement paperwork with the county on your own.

This is desirable, but it is not always practical. And it can still be beneficial to have a legal expert assist with some of the more challenging aspects of this procedure.


Therefore, if you are only using their land, you are not required to maintain it, correct?

Not necessarily...Regardless of the governing documents that define your easement agreement, this section will be addressed.

However, it is typical for the homeowner to be responsible for the maintenance of their entire property, including any portions that others may use as part of an easement.


Investing in landlocked property is possible when you can have the ability to sell the property, or renovating the property and sell it at a higher price or holding the property to make a huge price or converting the property for good regular revenue from rentals like commercial or residential or leasing the property.

Some real estate investors purchase landlocked property, obtain an easement, and profit from the properties resources, materials.

This amount is sufficient to cover the acquisition expenses, legal fees, etc.

In addition, the land is considerably more appealing now that an easement agreement has been established.

However, obtaining legal access to landlocked property is a multi-step process that can be extremely difficult to execute correctly.

If a property does not have an easement agreement and its existence is not clear, it is not prudent to purchase it immediately.

When conducting due diligence on landlocked property and its future potential, it is important to consider the property's resale potential.

Price of the land locked real estate property ultimately determines whether it is good for an investment.


Because an easement is a legal document, it can be beneficial to have legal representation throughout the process, particularly in a new area.

A local real estate attorney can provide the knowledge you lack regarding local or state laws that impact your decision-making process or your likelihood of success.

Why might individuals choose not to have an real estate attorney?

Probably the most common is money.

If you're on a tight budget, it can be tempting to cut corners wherever possible.

However, hiring a local real estate attorney can help you save money in other areas.

You should never invest in a property that you cannot sell!

You will benefit from knowing clearly what your odds are and how to proceed.

Having a neighbour who is amicable is a common reason why people choose not to hire an real estate attorney.

In this instance, it may not be a problem.

To avoid problems in the future, you must ensure that all procedures are followed and paperwork is filed correctly.


If you are looking for the quickest and easiest way to gain access to a piece of property, you should pursue an express easement.

Here's how it works:

Obtain a written easement. Specify the property and specifics of the permitted easement use

Get the signature of the grantor.

Register it with the county deeds office.

When granting this type of easement, some neighbouring landowners may not even demand compensation.

Others may still require payment in some form.

However, express easements may not be possible when the adjacent landowner is refuses or not cooperative to sign a document outside of court.

In this instance, the procedure will be significantly longer.


Depending on where you intend to purchase landlocked property, research will be necessary.

For instance, "easement by necessity" is recognised by Texas law.

When it is necessary to cross another landowner's private property in order to access yours, you can create an easement by necessity.

Nevertheless, the landlocked owner must PROVE the following...

The same person must have owned both the landlocked property and the parcel across which access is sought (unity of ownership of the alleged dominant as well as servient estates prior to severance)

Access is a necessity, not a luxury.

At the time that these two estates were divided, necessity existed.

If the landlocked property owner could prove the three statements mentioned above, they may be able to petition of the court for a "easement by necessity" declaration.

The document can then be recorded in the county's deed records.

This agreement can only be approved if all three conditions are satisfied.


An implied easement is comparable to a necessity easement.

It comes into play when a parcel is subdivided and sold after creating a landlocked property.

As with an easement by necessity, the following must be demonstrated by the new landlocked property owner:

The same person must have owned both the landlocked property and the parcel across which access is sought.

Access is a necessity, not a luxury.

In the case of an implied easement, the in question access way must also have existed prior to the division of the property.

For example, A farmer subdivides his 50-acres of farmland into two lots, a 40-acre land parcel and a 10-acre land parcel.

The barn on the 10-acre parcel was only accessible via a private dirt road that traversed the 40-acre property.

Prior to subdividing the property, the farmer had utilized this dirt road for many years.

In this situation, the new owner of the 10-acre parcel may be able to assert an implied easement if he or she can provide evidence of the three statements listed above.


Prescriptive easements are created when a landlocked property owner acquires an easement through adverse possession by asserting that they have used the easement for a certain period of time.

This use must be open and clear, well-known, exclusive, continuous, and detrimental.

If you are unfamiliar with these terms, here is what you must demonstrate regarding your use of the accessway:

It must have been obvious to the adjacent property owner that you were using their land to gain access to your property.

Exclusive and Continuous: the use of the adjacent property must have been exclusive and continuous (i.e., used only by you or the previous property owner) for a specified period of time (usually 10 years, although this varies state by state).

Negative: the landlocked property owner (or previous owners) must claim and prove they lacked permission to use the accessway.

If the elements open and notorious, exclusive and continuous and adverse can be demonstrated, then the landlocked property owner may be able to file a legal prescriptive easement.

Please note that the operation of prescriptive easements differs between states, so you should consult with local counsel.


Were you informed of the existence of an easement when you first purchased the property?

Occasionally, this occurs between landlocked property owners and their neighbours, causing problems in the future.

For instance, if you purchase a property under the impression that an easement exists because you meet an adjacent neighbour who says you're welcome to use their private land to access your property, you may be surprised when this permission is later revoked.

Does that mean you no longer have access to your property?

In this situation, you could establish an easement by estoppel by filing a lawsuit, proving the following elements, and obtaining a judge's order.

Although it may not be ideal, it is certainly viable.

Adjacent neighbour must demonstrate:

Conduct that constitutes misrepresentation or concealment of material facts OR conduct that creates the impression that the facts are inconsistent with those the party later asserts constitutes fraud.

Intention, anticipation, or reasonable anticipation that the other party will act as a result of this conduct

Actual knowledge of the truth

Owner of landlocked property must provide:

Lack of knowledge and the means to know the truth about the pertinent facts.

Reliance on the party's conduct is precluded.

A consequence of such nature that their position has been adversely affected.


A statute in Texas allows a landlocked property owner to petition the commissioners court for a public road.

To accomplish this, the owner of the landlocked property must file a sworn application with the commissioners' court and notify each property owner who would be affected by the easement.

There will be hearing regarding the application of public road for land locked real estate property.

The commissioner's court will determine whether or not the landowner has access to their property and may even issue an order to construct a public road if the landowner does not.

This is entirely up to the discretion of the commissioner and depends on a variety of factors.