When it comes to owning land in Texas, things can get complicated. By law, there are two ways that you may have ownership of property: surface ownership and
mineral rights. A person may hold ownerships of both or may share with another party. In some cases, the ownership may be completely severed. Regardless of the situation, a person with surface ownership rights should keep a few things in mind when entering into any agreements or contracts.
What does surface ownership entail?
Under Texas oil and gas laws, surface ownership rights give an individual ownership over the actual property surface. This means they will have control and rights to the surface, but not anything beneath, unless they obtain mineral rights as well. Surface ownership disputes can often arise out of the use of the land. When a company comes in or other party who owns the mineral rights, they will need to work with you to ensure that they do not violate your surface ownership rights in any way.
Working with the Mineral Rights Owner
When a party comes in and wants to being drilling and production on the land you have surface ownership of, matters can become much more complicated. You have the option to either sell or lease your surface ownership rights to this party in order to allow them to exercise their mineral rights.
There are three options for the type of ownership you can obtain in your agreement:
- Severed ownership
- Full ownership
- Shared ownership
You will need to determine which option is best for your specific circumstances and make sure that you work out a deal that does not hinder your rights in any way. A mineral owner will face certain restrictions too, such as only using as much of the surface as reasonably necessary. Not only that, but they must use the surface with due regard to your rights, which means they cannot be negligent in their use of your surface property or estate.
If you feel that these rights have been violated in any way, you can take legal action by retaining a Houston Oil and Gas Attorney from Herring Law Firm.