What does an easement mean? – Tips and Tricks for Easement Owners

An easement is a legal right to use someone else’s property, usually for a limited purpose. Easements are typically created by one property owner who grants access to another.

Easements are most frequently used to provide access to adjacent properties or existing utilities. Easements can also allow a neighbor to access their property if it is not connected to the road or does not have a legal right of way. When an easement provides for access to water or sewer service, or electric service, it is called an appurtenance.

What is an easement?

An easement is a right to use someone else’s land. It can be used for anything from parking a car, building a house or putting up a fence.

Easements are usually for private uses, but occasionally they’re for public use. For example, the local authority may have an easement over your land to allow them to build a new road or sewerage system through your property.

You may also have an easement on part of your neighbour’s land – for example, if you have an access driveway across it.

Types of Easements

There are two types of easements:

Easements appurtenant.

An easement appurtenant allows one party to use another’s land for a specific purpose, such as installing a fence or access road. The owner of the dominant tenement (the property with the right-of-way) can use the servient tenement (the property where the right-of-way is located) for this purpose even if it interferes with its current use.

Easements in gross.

An easement in gross gives one person complete control over another person’s land for a specific purpose, such as planting trees or maintaining an irrigation ditch on their neighbor’s property without affecting their own ability to use that portion of their property for another purpose.

Express Easements

Easements are created by agreement between two parties and may be implied or express. Express easements are sometimes called “easements by deed.” The agreement is reduced to writing and signed by both parties, creating a legal document that defines the terms of the agreement.

Express easements often last forever, unless otherwise specified in the written document. An implied easement exists when there is evidence that two neighbors intended it to exist even though they never discussed it out loud or put it in writing.

An example of an express easement is when two neighbors agree on where their property lines will be drawn so that one neighbor can have access to their water meter from the street side of their house instead of walking all the way around to the back side where there is no sidewalk or curb cut.

Implied Easements

An express easement is one that is expressly provided for or agreed upon by the parties. A fee simple absolute owner of real estate may grant an express easement by deed, but not without the consent of the owner of the land affected by such grant.

An implied easement is one that arises from necessity and convenience rather than from agreement between the parties. The law will imply an easement when it becomes necessary for one property owner to use another person’s land as part of their own property for some purpose that cannot be fulfilled without access to or use of the servient estate (i.e., the land burdened).

Prescriptive Easements

Prescription is also known as ‘squatter’s rights’. It is used when an individual or business has used someone else’s land or rights without their permission for long enough that they can claim ownership of those rights by law.

Impact of an Easement on a Real Estate Transaction

The impact of an easement on a real estate transaction can vary greatly depending on the type of easement and its location on the property being sold. In some cases, an easement may not have any impact at all; If a neighbor has an easement, it can affect your property’s value and use.

If there are no restrictions on the use and enjoyment of your property because of the easements, then it won’t affect your ability to sell or refinance your home. However, if there are restrictions that could affect how much money a buyer would be willing to pay for your home because they’re concerned about future maintenance fees (such as mowing grass), then it will have an impact on its value.

How to find easements on property

The easiest way to find an easement is by doing an online search for “easement deeds.” You’ll have to look at every document individually, however, because each deed will give you different information.

For example, if you’re looking for an easement that allows someone to access their home from your property, then you’ll want to look for something like “easement by necessity.” If you’re looking for an easement that gives someone permission to build on your lot, then look for words such as “right of way.”

If you can’t find anything online, then start asking around. Talk to neighbors who live near the property in question or go see them in person — they may know something about the easements on their own properties that could help you out!

Can a property owner block an easement?

A property owner may have legal rights against an easement if it interferes with his use of his property. For example, if an easement allows someone to walk across a yard without permission, then the owner may be able to ask them to stay off his lawn.

If a person is using an easement in violation of its terms, such as walking across someone’s yard without permission, then he could be held liable for trespass damages or even criminal charges if he refuses to stop doing so when asked by the property owner.


The terms “easement” and “right-of-way” are often utilized when a person who owns one parcel of land wishes to use the adjoining property, usually to improve access to his/her own property.

The owner of the adjoining property who is allowing the landowner to use his/her property is entitled to compensation for the easement estate granted. Easements are considered a type of servitude and convey an interest in real estate, granting a right or a privilege against both present and future owners of the affected properties.

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