10 Things You Need to Know About Mineral and Surface Rights
In Texas, mineral rights are gold. With a booming oil and gas economy in the state and increased awareness of the value of these rights, real estate transactions can often become heated due to misinformation or misunderstandings. Both mineral and surface rights are often shaded in confusing legal talk, but with a basic understanding, you can become better equipped to help your clients and ask the right questions of your legal counsel:
1. The minerals of a property are considered part of the real estate in Texas.
2. The term “minerals” in today’s context focuses on oil and gas; however, “minerals” has a much broader definition.
3. Mineral rights do not include limestone, caliche, surface shale, building stones, sand, gravel or water.
4. A seller can choose to retain the mineral rights of a property but must explicitly state so in the contract.
5. If the mineral rights are not reserved as stated in the contract, they are transferred along with the surface rights to the buyer.
6. Once the mineral rights and surface rights are severed, there can be multiple owners of a property.
7. Whoever owns the mineral rights to your property has the right to access through the surface.
8. However, municipal regulations often limit, or even prohibit, drilling in areas in close proximity to residential neighborhoods; as a result, mineral owners cannot exercise their surface rights in most neighborhoods, and must rely on horizontal drilling from miles away to access the minerals underneath.
9. If the owner of the mineral rights leases to an oil and gas company, that company has the same rights as the owner regarding surface access.
10. However, the owner of the mineral rights (or lessor) can only use what is “reasonably necessary” of the surface land to access the minerals underground.
11. You can find out who owns the mineral rights to your property through your local county clerk’s office or a title search.
Content derived from Jeffrey A. Rattikin, Attorney at Law, RattikinLaw Fort Worth, www.rattikinlaw.com. Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved. This Title Tuesday tip is not a legal representation or statement of law, but is presented for general informational purposes only. Please confer with legal counsel of your choice for any and all legal questions.