An easement deals with the right to use another owner’s property, given a specific need to do so. This type of purpose can deal with having access to travel through the property of the owner, or use certain areas for allowable utilities to be provided. One common example is the need for utility companies to install a support beam on someone’s front property to transport new power lines for electricity, or phone services.
Another can be the utility companies digging the ground on someone’s property in order to install or repair gas, water, or sewage lines. Although these are the most prevalent of scenarios, there are other examples that can affect one’s property,such as an access route to a street.
Sometimes houses are built behind one another, obstructing a property owner’s path to a road. In this case, an easement would grant the rear property owner (dominant tenement) access to building a driveway, through the property of the front owner (servient tenement), so the dominant tenement can properly access the road . Easements are split into two main categories:easements in gross, and appurtenant easements.
Appurtenant easements deal with an easement specifically for the benefit of a particular lot of land. This type of easement is transferable to a new owner, if a sale of that land takes place. In regards to the example of the house being built behind the other house, that type of easement would be considered an appurtenant easement.
The access route would be built on the property of the servient tenement to the benefit of the dominant tenement. Should a sale take place of the land, the property of the dominant tenement would transfer the easement over to the new owner without any issue or complication. In fact, the easement is not required to be mentioned in the title of deed of the property. An easement in gross deals with a similar concept, but the difference is that the owner of the easement does not benefit from it.
This relates to the example with the utility companies. Since the purpose of the easement is simply to grant those companies access to the land in order to install their necessary components, the benefit of such action does not lie within the company or a specific owner. One could argue that the installation of such measures provides services necessary or essential to the people living in the area, but this still does not constitute benefit of specific ownership.
The way easements are created can occur by different means. They can be conceived due to implication, express grant, necessity, or prescription. An implied easement deals with an easement created by the actions of a party over another without a written documentation.
It is an understanding or ‘implication’ that an easement is required for access, such as buying a landlocked piece of land requiring access to the roadways. This would create an implied easement in which the owner of the landlocked land has the right to access that roadway through the property blocking it, if belonging to the owner who sold him his current property (two parallel properties).