Mineral Rights & Gas Leases: Protect your Rights

Considering a Mineral Rights Lease? Proceed with Caution!

Gas leases can contain legal language that allows companies to:

  • Build roads, buildings, gates, drilling stations and pipelines on any spot on your land
  • Leave you liable for any damages caused to neighboring landowners by their drilling practices
  • Interfere with farming, hunting, timber rights, conservation programs, and other uses of your land
  • Use millions of gallons of water from your well
  • Store waste water and chemicals on your land

If you are a North Carolina landowner considering signing a lease:

1) Take your time.

  • You may be pressured to sign a lease quickly. But you have time to consider any offer, to consult an attorney and to negotiate if you decide to go forward.
  • Leases often contain language saying that they will extend as long as gas can be extracted from the land. Even if you sell your property, the buyer must accept the lease along with the land.

2) Talk to a lawyer.

  • Gas leases are binding legal contracts. They are usually written to benefit the company, not the landowner.
  • Contracts take precedence over any verbal agreement that you may have with the company.
  • Special language may need to be added to protect your property.

3) Know the impact on your land.

Gas leases can contain legal language that allows companies to:

  • Build roads, buildings, gates, drilling stations and pipelines on any spot on your land.
  • Interfere with farming, hunting, timber rights, conservation programs and other uses of your land.
  • Use millions of gallons of water from your well.
  • Store waste water and chemicals on your land.

4) Know the impact on your finances.

  • Gas leases may violate the terms of your mortgage.
  • Drilling may impact the value of your property.
  • You may have to pay rollback taxes for any property that you have in government agriculture or conservation programs.

5) Don’t accept responsibility for the gas company’s actions.

  • Mineral rights leases may put liability for environmental harms or other environmental issues on the landowner, not the company.
  • Make sure that the company is responsible for complying with local regulations, paying any fines and compensating you for lost income.