Easement

What is an easement?

An easement is the right to enter or use someone else’s property. For example, a utility may have an easement to build and maintain water, sewer and power lines.

Deeper definition

An easement is a type of interest in a party that does not own the land but has some stake in it. The easement holder doesn’t have the right to occupy the land or to exclude anyone else from it.

The landowner has access to the easement property, including keeping others off of the property, except for the easement holder. However, because of the access that the easement holder to enter a portion of the property, permanent structures should not be erected on the easement.

Easements are most commonly put into place to preserve portions of land for government or utility use. This includes certain edges of properties for sidewalk or sewer access.

Easements are broken into two categories: “appurtenant” and “in gross.” An appurtenant easement allows the easement to come under formal ownership of the land. This generally allows some type of limited use of the property by the landowner.

In gross easements are personal easements that don’t transfer with the property when it is sold. These can include agreements between neighbors for some use of a portion of the property.

Usually, easements are included as a portion of a deed or some other contract. It’s important for official documents to be signed to make them binding for both parties.

Easement example

If you have an easement on your property, you may have an agreement in your home deed that your driveway is to be shared with your next-door neighbor. This means that you wouldn’t be able to do something like park a recreational vehicle in the driveway and block the driveway.

Additionally, if the driveway is gravel and your neighbor decides that he wants to pave it with asphalt, you will have to approve the project and pay for a portion of the paving cost. If you don’t want a paved driveway, your neighbor would not be allowed to pave it without your consent.

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