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The Fast Facts on Easements

The Fast Facts on Easements

Easements are known as the use of a private property by a person or organization for a specific reason or intent. Easements may deal with the granted right of one property owner to travel over the property of a neighbor to access certain areas. They can also empower a certain company or organization to utilize private land to provide a specific service, or complete a task. Depending on the type of assessment, an easement can either benefit one party over the other, or neither parties. 
Two types exist and are known as an easement in gross, and an appurtenant easement. Easements can be created in various ways, such as being granted by one property owner to another, being implied by an action, prescribed, or necessary for the full use and enjoyment of property. The regulations for each easement varies, and they can last until otherwise specified. Some are permanent until a certain requirement is meant to terminate them. 
An easement grants the use of a private piece of land belonging to an owner, by another person or organization for a specific purpose or need. The access can deal with travel over the property, as well as placing certain structural components on the property, and even allowing for construction above and below ground of utilities. Easements fall into two distinctive categories known as appurtenant easements, and easements in gross. 
Appurtenant easements benefit the holder of the easement over the owner of the property where the easement is located. They deal with a servient tenement (location) and a dominant tenement (holder of easement).  Appurtenant easements deal with a benefiting land owner over another, where the easement is located. The owner benefits over the use of such property, and the easement over that property. Easements in gross deal with an easement with no beneficiary, this can be in the case of a utility company using the property for power lines, water/sewer mains, or gas pipes.


An easement usually benefit’s the holder, and their use or access over a property. For example, in an appurtenant easement, the dominant tenement, or estate, would be the beneficiary over the servient tenement. This is due to the fact that the dominant tenement would have the ability and right to use the property over the servient in a manner that serves a purpose or function that is specific. This could be an access route to a roadway, or a passageway to their property. 
When dealing with an easement in gross, there is no beneficiary because the easement is granted to a company, usually a utility company, and the use would be simply to provide services to the areas required. However, sometimes when a government or municipality calls for an easement of property to perhaps build a recreation center, etc.. one could argue that the community would benefit from such a place. Regardless, once again there is no benefiting party involved in the terms of the easement. Simply, the only thing that exists is the purpose of the easement for the use of the property.
Appurtenant Easements
Appurtenant easements, like any easement, deal with the use of a private property by another entity. In this case, it’s another private owner. An appurtenant easement deals with  one private property owner using the land of another private property owner for a specific purpose that allows them to get full use of their property and enjoy it’s benefits. 
The owner in an appurtenant easement, of the land where the easement will be located, is referred to as the servient tenement, he or she is the grantor of the easement. The grantee, who is the private owner that will be holding the easement, and using the land of the grantor, is the dominant tenement. In an appurtenant easement, should the dominant tenement choose to sell his or her land, the easement would automatically transfer over to the new owner so that they can use it and be entitled to full use of their property.
Easements in Gross

One easement that does not benefit a party over the other is known as an easement in gross. The most common of these, deals with utility companies looking to provide some sort of service to a community. They may require an easement over a private property to install power lines, or to extend the coverage area of their existing system. 
This deals with them perhaps using a grassy or wooded area behind a residential dwelling, or next to a commercial property such a as a building. These structures may be unsightly, as well as affect the property values in which they are located. However, since they area essential to a specific need, these easements will mainly be granted. They can sometimes be dealt with underground structures, in the cases of utility companies accessing water/sewer mains, or even gas pipes.
When a use of a private piece of land is necessary for a special purpose, by another entity, be it another land owner or perhaps a company or organization, an easement can be created. Easements can be created or granted through a few different ways, these are: express grant, implication, prescription, and necessity. The purpose of each easement may or may not solely benefit the owner of the easement, but could be necessary for a specific mandated function. In general, an easement could be created with the consent of the owner, which would entail an express grant. 
There could also be a significant implication for the requirement of an easement to exercise the entire use and enjoyment of a property by its owner, an implied easement. The use of the land without the permission or consent of the owner can lead to the creation of a prescriptive easement, as long as the use is not halted or aborted. The need for an access of a public street can also constitute an easement, due to the essential necessity of the owner to access a public roadway to exit and enter their property.