3 types of easements you may encounter

An easement can be a complex issue to navigate without the guidance of legal counsel. If you are developing real estate or investing in a property, however, it is essential that you understand its implications. Typically, an easement is a law that entitles its holder to use a property for a specific purpose. The catch is that the easement holder need not be the owner of the property.

This allows the party with an easement to execute nonpossessory actions. The ambiguity of this phrase, though, does not answer what such actions might include. This depends on what kind of easement has been granted. The following three are some of the types you are most likely to encounter.

Easement appurtenant

An easement appurtenant is most common in situations where two property owners seek to use an adjoining part of the land. If a home is on property that is landlocked, for example, the owner may need to secure an easement appurtenant in order to cross a neighbor’s land and access the main road or surrounding area.

Prescriptive easement

Prescriptive easements, like an easement appurtenant, grant the right to use — but not own — a piece of property. This type, however, is typically gained because of regular use. A person who has established their continual and necessary use of a property may be able to acquire this easement and ensure their continued use of the land is legal. Such an easement may even be earned without the property owner’s permission.

Easement in gross

Easement in gross agreements are unique because they are valid only so long as the property owner or easement holder lives. This means the agreement is contingent upon the individuals involved rather than the properties in question. The easement may also be invalidated if the owner of the land sells it or another person takes possession for any reason.