There are five ways that an easement could be terminated from existence. They are the following: the expiration of the term (grant); abandonment of easement; a merger; foreclosure of existing servient liens; and express release (or direct termination). Unless one of these is exercised, or occurs, the easement will be continuous and exist indefinitely.
Termination due to the expiration of term deals with an easement given through express grant. This can deal with an owner who has granted the permission of another property owner the easement over the use of his land, for a specific period of time. This can also deal with the term of occupancy of that owner on the land as well. Once the term has expired, then the easement may be terminated.
Also, the change of use for a property can also relate to an expiration of term. This can be if an easement access passage, previously private, has been modified into a public use passageway, this would end the easement existing. Abandonment termination happens when the user of the easement has been neglected for a certain period of time. The absence from the use of the easement holder, for a determined period of time can decide for that easement to be terminated. In this case the use must be abandoned for the period of time, and also, certain structures that pertained to the easement could be removed showing signs of abandonment.
Let’s say an easement is built as a walkway out of a county park between two houses, occupying one of the lot’s property. The walkway contains short fencing and maybe even a handrail. If the use of the entrance, or exit passage to the park is clearly discontinued to the point where the fences or handrails may have been removed for a long period of time, the land owners can pose their case that the easement has been abandoned. If proven, not solely through the use, but also through the visible signs with the missing structures, then the easement on that property could be terminated due to abandonment. In the case of a merger, it deals with two owners that hold a land next to each other.
Land owner A grants an easement to land owner B to access to a road through his own property. Land owner A decides to sell his property, and land owner B decides to purchase it. Since both properties now belong to the easement holder, the easement is no longer necessary. This would constitute an easement termination by merger. Termination of an easement can also come from a foreclosure over a mortgage or deed on a servient property.In various states, a tax foreclosure sale of a servient property can also result in the termination of an existing easement.
Finally, easements can be terminated simply by an written termination contract, or express release. The written release would follow the same guidelines in structure and steps of writing and recording as the original easement. Once completed, the records of such written release would be saved in the county’s public records storage where the easement was held.