An easement is a property right that gives it’s holder an interest in land that’s owned by someone else. Land affected by an easement is called a servient estate, while the land or person benefitted by the easement is known as the dominant estate.
Most easements are affirmative, which means that they authorize use of another’s land.
Easements are usually created by conveyance in a deed or some other written document such as a will or contract.
Although permanent easements are the norm, they can be terminated. Easements of limited duration are commonly used to provide temporary access to a dominant estate pending the completion of construction work.
An easement may also be terminated when an individual owning the dominant estate purchases the servient estate or when the holder of an easement releases his or her right in the easement (in writing) to the owner of the servient estate.
An easement may also be terminated by abandonment, not just not using it.
Easements are an issue which primarily appear in reference to residential real estate. So whether you are a real estate agent selling residential real estate in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx or Staten Island, the issue of the existence of an easement on a property may be involved.
The more common types of easements are:
Right of Way: This is where a neighbor may need to pass through the driveway of the property to get to their rear yard or garage. In that driveway is a walkway leading to your backyard. That walkway is an easement which allows you to have legal access to your backyard through the neighbor’s driveway. The neighbor cannot block your access and encroach on your easement right to access your back yard. On the other hand, your easement entitles you to the part of the property that you own that is on the survey or deed to the property, but you cannot extend your easement onto the neighbor’s property without their permission.
In Gross: This type of easement applies only to the particular person you’re dealing with at that moment, whom you’ve decided to let access the property. When that person sells the property, the future owner is not included in the easement access.
Appurtenant is an easement that is attached to the land and therefore is part of any sale and is transferred to the new owner.
The bottom line when it comes to easement rights is to do your due diligence and understand exactly what your easement rights entitle you to and what your easement rights do not entitle you to before you sign a contract of sale to purchase a property.
If you are interested in selling your property or you know someone who is planning to sell their Brooklyn New York property, whether a single family residential property, an apartment building, a commercial property, mixed use, multi family, coop or condo, vacant land or a development opportunity, call us. You will be very happy that you did.