What Are Subsurface Rights And How Do They Work

Have you ever stopped to consider what happens beneath your feet? The ground that you walk on is just the surface layer of soil, dirt, and rocks. Beneath that is a complex system of underground tunnels and chambers that makes up the subsurface. While most people never think about it, the subsurface plays a crucial role in our everyday lives. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at subsurface rights and how they impact property owners. Stay tuned!

Work trucks working in excavated land

What subsurface rights are and why do they matter

The mention of surface rights triggers the question, what are subsurface rights and how do they work? When you purchase property, you not only gain ownership of the land itself but also of the air above it and the minerals below it.

These “subsurface rights” can be a valuable resource, particularly if your property is located near a natural deposit of coal, oil, or gas. In some cases, you may even be able to sell your rights to a mining company or energy company.

However, it’s important to understand that subsurface rights are different from surface rights. Surface rights refer to the right to use the land for activities like farming or ranching. By contrast, subsurface rights refer to the right to exploit the minerals beneath the surface.

As a result, they are often held by different people. This can create conflict if someone tries to mine for minerals without first obtaining the necessary subsurface rights. For example, a farmer might sue a mining company for damaging his crops with dynamite blasts. In short, these rights can be a valuable asset, but it’s important to know who owns them before undertaking any type of mining or drilling operation.

Mining for minerals

How subsurface rights are determined

The determination of subsurface rights is a complex process that takes into account a variety of factors. The first step is to identify the ownership of the land surface. If the land is owned by the government, then the subsurface rights are typically reserved for public use. If the land is privately owned, then the next step is to determine who owns the minerals beneath the surface.

In many cases, the owner of the surface rights also owns the mineral rights. However, there are situations where the two are owned by different people. In these cases, it is important to determine who has the right to extract and use the minerals.

The final step is to determine whether there are any restrictions on the use of the subsurface rights. These restrictions can be placed by either the government or private landowners. Once all of these factors have been taken into account, a determination can be made as to who has the right to use the subsurface resources.

mined land

The different types of subsurface rights

When it comes to property rights, most people are familiar with the surface rights – that is, the rights to the land itself. However, there is another type of property right known as subsurface rights. Subsurface rights refer to the rights to what lies beneath the surface of the land, such as minerals, water, or oil.

These rights can be very valuable, and they are often leased or sold separately from the surface rights. In some cases, subsurface rights can even be owned by someone other than the owner of the surface land.

As a result, it is important to carefully consider all of your options before buying or leasing property. By understanding the different types of property rights, you can be sure that you are making the best decision for your needs.

Excavators on mined land

How to protect your subsurface rights

As a property owner, you have the right to use the subsoil beneath your land. This is known as your “subsurface rights.” In most cases, you also have the right to sell or lease these rights to someone else.

However, there are some restrictions on what you can do with your subsurface rights. For example, you generally cannot obstruct or interfere with someone else’s use of theirs. Additionally, you may be required to obtain a permit before excavating or drilling on your property.

There are several ways to protect your rights. First, it is important to be aware of the laws and regulations governing subsurface activity in your area. Secondly, it is a good idea to keep track of any permits or approvals that you receive from government agencies.

Finally, it is advisable to consult with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your subsurface rights. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that yours are protected.


What to do if you think someone is infringing on your rights

If you think that someone is infringing on your subsurface rights, the first thing you should do is speak to an experienced attorney. An attorney will be able to review your claim and determine whether or not you have a valid case. If you do have a case, the attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the infringer.

In some cases, it may be possible to reach a settlement out of court. However, if the infringement is significant, it may be necessary to take the case to trial. Either way, an experienced attorney will be able to guide you through the process and protect your rights.

Infringement paperwork

In Conclusion: 

Subsurface rights are an important consideration for landowners, and it’s important to understand how they are determined and what protections are available. If you think someone is infringing on your rights, be sure to reach out for legal assistance.

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