Easements in gross, relate to a type of easement that shows no benefit to a property owner, or to the person holding the easement. The most common example of easements in gross are in the case of utility companies requiring the use of a property to provide their services. This can apply to residential property owners, as well as commercial. The rights and access granted can be above ground, or even underground, depending on the utility company.
A common example could be a new development in or around where a city is being built; this new development will require utilities to reach it. In this case perhaps new power lines will need to be raised, but the property where they would lie could be owned by others, such as buildings, or homes. In order to install these power lines, the utility company in charge of cable, electricity, or both, will request that an easement in gross be created so that they may utilize the property to install such services. Since the installation neither benefits the owner of the property where the easement lies nor the holder of the easement (utility company), this is known to be an easement in gross.
The same can be said for a company looking to repair a gas line, or perhaps install a new one. They may need access to the area lying underneath several homes, whether the front laws of houses or driveways. In this case the company would request that an easement in gross be created to allow them access to dig the property of these individuals and install or repair the pipes underground. Once the utility company gains this easement, they will be allowed to dig the otherwise private property and commence their work. Some municipalities require that the utility company in such cases, return the property to its prior condition.
For instance, if they have dug underneath a property where a lawn was present, they may be subject to replace it using sod in accordance with the owner of that property. Or if the land was part of a driveway, they may be required to refill the area where they had dug with concrete or blacktop mix, and in some cases paver stones. This guideline is only required in some areas, and only applied in those specific cases.
Easement’s in gross are irrevocable and will remain so for the duration of the life of the owner. Due to the fact that an easement in gross “attaches” itself to the owner themselves, rather than the land, there is no dominant tenement in the matter. The servient tenement still remains the property on which the easement exists, such as the power lines, underground pipes, etc…