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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 111551
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I live in Fairfax County, .The county code states I own my

Customer Question

I live in Fairfax County, Virginia.The county code states I own my lateral sewer line from my house to the main sewer line in the street. The County argues that an easement has been provided for this code to have been written this way. In my view this code is oxy-moronic, it presumes I own the property (land) in which my lateral sewer line runs past my real property line. I submit that if this is the case then I should be given mineral rights to the same property that runs under the street and encases my lateral sewer line that passes beneath the Country's street. I believe this is a classic case of "having ones cake and eating it too" by Fairfax County. Question: would it be legally possible to challenge the lack of logic in the Fairfax County code that regulates the lateral sewer lines?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
To understand what they are telling you, what they did not explain is the common law concept of easements, which provides that for the purposes of utilities, such as sewer, water, electricity etc, easements are granted by operation of law to provide those services. Easements are not ownership of the land. The land remains owned by the owner of the actual property the easement goes through, they are called the servient estate. The person who uses someone else's property to go across with these easements is called the dominant estate. See: 1 MINOR ON REAL PROPERTY (2d Ed., Ribble), § 87. See also: Bunn v. Offutt, 216 Va. 681, 684 (1976). Because “an easement is not an ownership interest in land, it is axiomatic that an easement is
not an estate. This conclusion is consistent with authorities from numerous jurisdictions.” See: Burdette v. Brush Mt. Estates, LLC, 278 Va. 286, 292 (2009).
So while your pipes have rights to travel across city owned property to the main line, you do not own that property, you only have the right for your pipes to cross their property to get to the main line.
It is not lack of logic, it is the VA and common law of easements, which is only a right of use, not ownership.