What are easements?
An easement is a non-possessory property right to use another’s land for a specific purpose.
The right may be to use the land’s airspace or the surface below it.
Generally, they can be classified in two ways, as follows:
- Appurtenant or in gross
- Positive (allows a person to do something) or negative (prevents someone from doing something)
An appurtenant easement attaches to land while it is individuals who hold easements in gross.
Positive easements allow a person to use another’s property for a stated purpose.
EXAMPLE: Suzy and Marvin own separate lots that are located next to each other. Suzy has an easement to cross Marvin’s land to access a public road.
Moreover, negative easements prevent an owner from using the property in a particular manner.
EXAMPLE: A negative easement would prevent a property owner from adding additional stories to their property which would block a view.
How are they created?
By written agreement, express grant in a deed, condemnation, prescription, and necessity are all ways they can be created.
Different Types of Easements
Appurtenant easements allow the owner of a property to use the property next to it. For an appurtenant easement to exist there must be two conditions present:
- At least two pieces of land located next to each other
- Different people must own the pieces of land
The pieces of land are designated as dominant and servient tenements under an appurtenant easement.
The dominant tenement is the piece of land that benefits from the easement or dominates the other piece of land.
The servient tenement is the piece of land over which the easement runs.
Remember, appurtenant easements run with the land. If the current owner of the land sells their property, the easement is still in place.
There are many types of appurtenant easements, such as by necessity, party wall, and a light or view.
Individuals hold easements in gross. Death of the holder ends the easement. You cannot transfer an easement in gross.
An easement by prescription is acquired when a piece of land is used by someone else for a specific period. There are legal requirements regarding obtaining this type of easement, and they vary from state to state.
Finally, expiration, end of purpose, agreement, court action, and abandonment are all ways they can be terminated.
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