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What Is An Easement?

Posted January 29, 2016

When purchasing a property, you may learn that the property is benefitted or burdened by an “easement.”  Depending on the type of easement, it may be something that could affect your decision to purchase a property or the price you are willing to pay. So what is an easement?

An easement is an interest in land owned by another consisting of the right to use or control the land (or a part of the land) for a specified, limited purpose.  Most commonly, easements are granted for utility companies to install and maintain their power, water, or cable lines.  Other common easements include drainage, conservation, access, riparian and landscape.

Different types of Easements

Easements can be created in a variety of different ways, but all fall into two broad classifications: “appurtenant” and “in gross.”

Appurtenant easements

Appurtenant easements benefit a particular tract or tracts of land.  Generally, if an easement appurtenant has been created in favor of party A, when party A sells the property to party B, party B continues to benefit from the easement.  Having sold the property A does not retain rights in the easement.

Easement in Gross

Easements in gross benefit a person or persons, not a property. Taking the above example of party A selling to party B, if party A sells his property to party B an easement in gross does not necessarily transfer to party B.  This is so because the rights of an easement in gross do not flow from the ownership of a parcel of real property.  The rights of an easement in gross flow from the written grant of the easement.

We are here to help

If you are concerned about an easement disclosed in a title search, site plan, survey or filed map, you should contact an attorney familiar with real estate issues. The Law offices of Foss, San Filippo & Milne protect the interests of our clients in real estate. Contact us by filling out our online contact form or calling 732-741-2525.