Building Homes or Extensions/phone line easement


Hi Stephen-

I am in the planning stages for building a detached garage behind my house. I have met the city requirement for being 5' from the back lot line but there is phone lines that run between the houses in the back yards. I have heard the the phone company has an "easement" of so many feet around the lines and/or phone junction boxes that you can not build. Do you know if they do have an easement of sorts? Is it for the lines and boxes or just the box? I am going to be about 8' away from the line and 15' from a box. I live in North Iowa and have Century Link as my phone company. I could not find anything about this on their website.



First check your property deed and survey, these should indicate the easement.  If you don't have them, they may be available at your local municipal offices.

Second, call Century Link and ask them to provide easement information for that line.  They do not want to have a situation develop where they are forced to ask you to tear down a building at some future date, so ask until you get the correct answer.

Lastly, check with your local planning/zoning or tax assessment department.  They have probably already dealt with this issue on another property and may be able to provide a quick answer.

Best of luck, Steve Major  

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Stephen Major (Owner--Major Design Group)


I can answer any questions regarding the design and construction of homes and additions. This includes trade-specific questions (how-to) in all major building trades: framing, foundations, site prep, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, water treatment, interior finishing, trim & cabinetwork, exterior finishing, roofing, siding. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer. PLEASE provide photos whenever possible.


30 years experience in building design and construction, all hands-on, including the construction of dozens of single-family homes and hundreds of remodeling projects in the northeastern US.

Author: "Architectural Woodwork - Details for Construction" published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (now Wiley).

BS Cornell University.

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