Property Ownership and Use: Your Guide to Easement Law

Monday, October 3, 2022


US housing sales haven't been this low in almost 40 years. The trained ear may understand that statistic as an indicator that we may see another housing bubble pop. When that happens, you may want to jump on the opportunity to become a homeowner.

But new homeownership isn't all bliss. Your dream home may have an easement; if so, you must understand that ownership and usage rights are separate. Easement law covers all this and more, and this guide will help you understand how easements work so you can understand and exercise all your rights.

What Is an Easement?

An easement is a type of genuine property interest that grants an individual or group the right to use another person's land. An easement may be either affirmative or negative and on possessory or nonpossessory property. Easement law is a subset of real estate law that defines the rights of different easements.

Affirmative Easement vs. Negative Easement

Easement property law states that affirmative easements allow the easement holder a right to access property owned by another individual. Negative easements are not rights themselves but the absence of a right. The negative easement allows an individual to deny the use of the property to another party.

Possessory vs. Nonpossessory Property

Possessory and nonpossessory property refers to a lessee's access to a property on a lien. Possessory property means the lender has possession of the property while on the lien, while nonpossessory means the lessee has access.

Considerations When Buying a Property With an Easement

If you're buying a house with an easement, you might want to run away because sharing your land is unsettling. But, we encourage you to consider the practical implications of an easement before giving up your dream home.

Certain easements exist for purely practical purposes and can benefit you and your neighbors. For example, utility easements bring fresh water, power, or gas to your home and community. Before you walk away, understand the type of easement and, if possible, talk to the sellers about how it affected their everyday lives.

Utility Easement

A utility easement gives someone the right to enter another's land for utility purposes, such as power or water. Utility easements are often created when public utilities such as gas, electricity, sewage lines, or water pipes require usage on private property.

Private or Express Easement

Private and express easements are two terms for the same type of easement. These easements refer to agreements between property owners and prospective property users in which the owner grants access to their property.

Necessity Easement

An easement of necessity is the right for someone who needs to use land not belonging to them to access their property. For example, suppose your house has a driveway leading to public property.

You cannot legally deny access to that public property without causing an undue burden to those using it. Therefore, you might consider an easement of necessity on your driveway.

Want More Info on Easement Law?

Now you know the basics of easement law. But, it can become more complicated depending on each situation. The best way to tackle easements is with a real estate attorney.

The expert attorneys at Monastra & Grater, LLC can help you understand and navigate easements with ease. Our dedicated legal team proudly serves Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey residents. Contact us today for a free real estate consultation.



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