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What Is an "Easement?"

What Is an "Easement?"

An easement is a legally binding agreement which allows an individual or company access to another person’s property for a specific use. These agreements are common in situations such as when two homes share the use of a driveway or when a utility pipeline runs through a home’s backyard. In both cases, even though the land may be owned by a single person, another may have limited access to part of a property for a specified use. Depending on the type of easement, the arrangement can either be dissolved or transferred with the sale of a property.

While an easement may give another permission to use a piece of land, it typically does not allow them to “occupy” that property. Conversely, the property owner cannot prohibit the holder of the easement from using the land in question unless the holder deviates from the predetermined use. For example, imagine that your neighbor has been granted a right-of-way easement in order to exit their property through a portion of your driveway. They may not then use that portion of land as a permanent parking spot, use that area to work on their car or decide on additional ways that the land is to be used.

The two main types of easements include:

  1. An easement “appurtenant” refers to an agreement that is attached to the land itself and must be included in any sale or transfer thereof. For example, these agreements may allow multiple employees of a utility company to service equipment or hardware such as a pipeline when service becomes required. When the land is sold, the easement will remain under the new owner.
  2. An easement “in gross” refers to an agreement that is limited to a specific person or group of people and is limited in its longevity. When one person sells or transfers their property, the easement does not also transfer. The new or future owners may have to create an entirely new contract and there is no guarantee that an agreement must be reached.

Legal Help for Property Easements

If you are seeking legal assistance with the creation, enforcement, or sale of a property involving an easement, do not hesitate to contact Schern Richardson Finter Decker, PLC. An easement has the power to affect you and your property for decades to come and when moving forward with a real estate transaction or dispute, it is critical that you fully understand the issues at hand. While the process can be highly complicated, our Phoenix real estate attorneys can help you to navigate every step and see that your interests remain protected.

Call (888) 464-9958 or contact us online to speak with a qualified attorney about your legal options.

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