What Is an Easement?
For individuals who own or might want to buy real properties, it is important to be familiar with easements. An easement on your property may constrain the developments you can make or can require or prohibit you to taking certain action. An easement that prevents you from doing something is called a negative easement. An easement that requires you to allow something on your property is called an affirmative easement. Continue reading for a brief introduction to easements!
An easement is a legal tool that gives an individual the right to use land that is owned by someone else, for a particular purpose. Easements vary significantly depending on the particular situation to which they apply. They can be created for specific people, certain lengths of time, and for specified purposes.
For example, let’s say you own a piece of property, and your neighbor owns land on both the right and left sides of your property. Your neighbor lives on the left side but can’t access the land on the right side without crossing your property. An easement granted would legally allow the neighbor to cross your property to access the land. Let’s continue exploring the concept of the easement to understand how it works.
There are several kinds of easements that describe who have the right to use another’s property and for what purpose. First, a private easement gives use rights to an individual. Easements of this kind are usually described in the deed or other property documents. This kind of easement only gives a particular person the right to use another’s land. Second, a utility easement allows companies providing utility services to access and install necessary equipment. Third, a public easement allows the general public to use someone’s property in a certain way. Fourth, an easement of necessity provides the owner of a landlocked parcel access to it through another’s property. Our hypothetical example about you and your neighbor is an example of this kind of easement. Finally, a prescriptive easement allows someone to use another’s property for a certain period of time.
Easements are also categorized depending on whether the easement runs with the land or a particular person. There are two of these categories: an easement in gross and an easement appurtenant. An easement in gross allows a person to use an owner’s property in a certain way while the owner continues to own the land being used. This means that when a new owner buys the land, the easement ends. An easement appurtenant, on the other hand, runs with the land, not an individual. If an owner agrees to an easement appurtenant, sells the property, and a new owner buys the land, the easement continues in force.
Now that you know a little about easements, you may have questions about your own land and easements. While a legal blog post serves as an introduction to legal topics, it should never be considered legal advice. Contact an Attorney at Kelly & Brand, Attorneys at Law, LLC for sound legal advice regarding easements and an array of other legal topics.