What is an easement?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | Real Estate

Anyone who is purchasing a home should do their due diligence to determine exactly what they’re getting into if they invest in a particular property. One specific thing to look for is if there’s an easement tied to a particular parcel.

An easement serves as a legal right to use another person’s land for a specific limited purpose. When someone grants an easement, they essentially allow others the privilege to use their property without transferring ownership. Common types of easements include the following.

Right of way

A right of way is a common easement that allows the holder to pass through another’s property. This is typically seen when landowners need to cross someone else’s land to access their property. Rights of way are vital in rural areas where properties may not have direct access to public roads.

Utility easements

Utility easements are granted to utility companies to install and maintain utilities like water, gas, electric lines and sewer pipes. These easements can be above or below ground and often run along or beneath public roads and private land. Utility easements are essential for modern infrastructure, allowing utility companies to provide services to neighborhoods and individual properties.

Private easements

Private easements are established between private parties for a variety of purposes. For example, a landowner might grant a neighbor the right to use a portion of their property for a driveway or to access a shared waterfront.

Conservation easements

Conservation easements are designed to preserve open space, natural resources, wildlife habitats and historical sites. These easements restrict the type and amount of development that can occur on the land, which allows the property to be used for specific conservation purposes while still remaining under private ownership.

Easements by necessity

Easements by necessity are established through the court system when a property is landlocked and has no legal access to a public road or utility. This type of easement is created out of the need for property owners to have access to their land.

Easements can quickly become complex legal matters. Working with a legal representative who can help to protect a interested party’s rights is imperative and may help those seeking to purchase property with an enhanced ability to find solutions to any challenges that may creep up.