The Importance of Title Research for Utility Projects

Before starting your utility projects, several processes must be completed, including a thorough title search. Service providers must confirm land ownership and locate the best plot to install their projects before they can begin construction. This is crucial if you want to install a line for the distribution of natural gas or electricity. You also need to find out if any types of easements restrict how the land can be used—such as conservation easements, drainage easements, and more. Keep reading to learn more about why title research and abstracting services are necessary for utility projects. 

What Is Title Research?

A thorough title search can shed light not only on current ownership and the chain of title but can also provide you with information about the type of ownership and land use and if there are any easements or encumbrances on the property. 

This type of service is necessary for utility projects like electric transmission line projects because knowing who owns the land where the project will be installed is critical for determining liability issues. Without thorough title research, you might encounter a number of complex legal issues that might negatively affect the project’s future. This could result in delays or even having to abandon the project entirely if it becomes clear that there are significant problems concerning ownership or land use permissions.

How Does a Title Search Work?

For utility projects, title research is crucial because it tells you whether the land is subject to any conservation easements or other restrictions. Typically, a title search might include the following:

  • A search of all relevant public records (e.g., deeds, mortgages, and liens) to determine who owns the property and whether there are any outstanding taxes. 
  • An examination of rights-of-way granted by government agencies for roadways or pipes.
  • A determination of whether a property has been condemned by eminent domain or had its zoning changed through rezoning proceedings.

Why Title Research Matters for Utility Projects

When planning a utility project, it is critical to know about the current owner and boundaries of the land where the project will be installed since this will help you avoid land use violations. For example, suppose your project encroaches on someone else’s property, and you are unsure of the property’s chain of title or exact boundaries. You may unintentionally break several local zoning laws or regulations in that case. Local authorities and private parties may impose fines or even take legal action against your company due to these violations.

Title research can also help you avoid problems with easements and other restrictions. For instance, some landowners have given power companies easements allowing them access to their properties for upkeep. However, many easements demand 48 hours’ notice before work crews can show up on the job site. If these requirements are not met, then there could be serious legal consequences for the parties involved. 

Before beginning construction, a title search can help you learn about easements, land use restrictions, and other crucial information, saving you from more serious issues later. 

Whitman Land Group provides world-class title research services and protects land developers and utility providers from fraud, undisclosed liens, forged legal judgments, and a host of other problems. In addition, we offer in-house title research and abstracting services and have relationships with title companies statewide. For more information, get in touch with us today!

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