Typically, when a person buys a home in Texas, he or she is granted surface and mineral rights to the property. If a homeowner has surface rights, it means that this person controls the land and any structures that are built on it. If a person has mineral rights, it means that he or she controls the oil, gas or other items that exist below the surface.
It is important to note that the current owner of a property may maintain mineral rights after selling it to another person. A person who holds mineral rights will be granted access to the surface of the property as well. This means that homeowners who only obtain surface rights may have to allow another person or entity to build a road or dig a trench on their land. Those who own mineral rights may also be able to dig wells or take other steps to find or access underground materials.
However, a landowner does have the right to ask that certain parts of a property be considered exempt from efforts to locate or mine minerals. Furthermore, those who have mineral rights in a given area may be liable for any damage that they cause to land owned by another person. Both surface and mineral rights holders may have to pay taxes on the value of gas, uranium or other minerals extracted from the ground.
Individuals who are looking to lease or sell mineral rights may want to consult with an attorney before doing so. This may help property owners better understand how doing so may impact their ability to use their land. A legal representative may also be able to review a lease or purchase agreement to determine if the proposed terms are in a property owner’s best interest.