SALE OF A PROPERTY SUBJECT TO AN EASEMENT
I am considering buying a piece of land that is subject to a conservation easement held by AVLT. What do I need to know?
You should obtain a copy of the entire easement document package from the seller. One of the most important documents in the package will be Exhibit C, which contains the restrictions and reserved rights. Read that document with care to make certain you understand it. Please feel free to contact AVLT for a clarification of any provisions you don’t understand.
I am selling my property, which is subject to a conservation easement held by AVLT. What should I do to help the buyer understand the obligations and restrictions that he/she will have under the easement?
The conservation easement is on record at the Mendocino County Recorder’s office. Accordingly, it will appear as one of the encumbrances on the preliminary title report. However, not all of the documents in the easement package are actually recorded. You (the seller) should give the buyer a copy of your entire file on the easement. You can also ask AVLT to send you a copy of its file on your easement, in case your file is not complete. AVLT will not provide a copy of the file on your easement directly to a prospective buyer without your permission. You should encourage your buyer to read the entire file, paying special attention to “Exhibit C.” If the buyer has questions, AVLT will try to answer them.
TRANSFERS BY AVLT AND OTHER LAND TRUSTS
Is it legally possible for AVLT to transfer a conservation easement that it holds to another land trust or to a governmental entity?
Yes. The conservation easement documents used by AVLT permit this.
Has AVLT ever transferred an easement to another land trust?
No. AVLT accepts only easements that are in or adjacent to the Navarro River watershed. Our local focus allows us closer relations with property owners and easier monitoring of easements. This has made the transferring of easements unnecessary and therefore unlikely.
Do some land trusts follow a routine practice of transferring to other land trusts easements that were first granted to them?
Yes. They tell grantors to expect that once an easement is in place, the land trust will probably transfer it to a land trust that has more local resources that will facilitate easier ongoing monitoring.
What if AVLT ceases to exist or merges with another land trust?
AVLT’s easements are transferable to any legal entity that could have accepted the easement grant in the first place. Every year in the U.S. a certain number of land trusts merge or cease to exist. It is commonplace for the easements that they hold to be picked up by another land trust.