An easement gives a person the legal right to use another person’s real estate for a specific use. An easement is a nonpossessory property interest that allows the holder of the easement to use property that he or she does not own or possess. An easement doesn’t allow the easement holder to occupy the land or to exclude others from the land, unless they interfere with the easement holder’s use. In contrast, the possessor of the land may continue to use the easement and may exclude everyone except the easement holder from the land.

Land affected or burdened by an easement is called a servient estate, while the land or person benefited by the easement is known as the dominant estate. If the easement benefits a particular piece of land, it’s said to be appurtenant to the land. If the easement only benefits an individual personally, not as an owner of a particular piece of land, the easement is termed in gross.

Because the easement can be crafted for specific purposes, there are different types of easements. Easements are typically created by a legal agreement. However, easements may also be generated by implication. Common easements created by implication are easements of necessity and easements of prescription. Easements of necessity are typically generated to provide access to a landlocked piece of property. Easements of prescription are usually created by the adverse, routine use of another’s land.

Easement disputes often arise when a property owner makes improvements, such as a fence or a driveway, which encroaches on an adjacent property or when a person uses the adjoining property without the owner’s permission.

If you have additional questions about easements, contact the real estate attorneys at the Paul Law Firm. Consultations are always free!