What is an Easement?

December 01, 2023

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A common example of an easement is when a utility, such as an electric company, has access on and/or over a property.  This is a grant for utilities to maintain their services. Another example of an easement is when a driveway is paved on your land for the benefit of an adjacent property, allowing them use of your land to access theirs.

Basically, an easement is a right granted to a person or entity for limited use of real estate, or a portion of it.  It can be for a general use or for a particular purpose.  The real estate subject to the easement is sometimes referred to as the “Servient Estate.”  If a person is purchasing property that is subject to an easement, it may be a servient estate.  An example of an easement is a right-of-way for the ingress and egress (access) to property.  In other words, the right to travel across a portion of the servient estate to reach or leave the “dominant” real estate.  Therefore, it is important to determine if an adjacent or nearby owner of property has the right to cross the property to enter or use their property if there is an easement established.

Easements may arise from agreement or by operation of law.  An agreement for an easement is typically set forth in writing and is signed by the parties agreeing to it.  Easements may be for a set period-of-time, but often run with the land.  This means that even if one of the parties agreeing to it conveys or transfers his/her real estate, the easement still applies to the real estate affected by it whenever a new party takes ownership.

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