Buying a Home with an Easement

If the home you’ve fallen in love with has an easement, you may be wondering how this affects you. An easement gives a person or entity the right to use part of your land, but only for a very specific reason. For example, a utility company may have an easement on your property to maintain an electric pole. Another example is an easement which allows your neighbor to drive through a portion of your land to access their garage.

Easements will be disclosed as part of the sales process and if you’ve discovered that your new purchase is subject to an easement, it’s important to learn the different types and their effect on your use of your land.

Types of Easements

• Appurtenant vs. Gross – An appurtenant easement benefits the property, by allowing access through another’s land, such as the neighbor’s garage example above. A gross easement benefits an individual or entity, such as the utility company example above.

• Private vs. Public – A private easement allows a specific person to access your property while a public easement allows any member of the public to use your land.

• Affirmative vs. Negative – Most easements are affirmative (which is to say they allow something to happen) but some are negative easements, such as preventing a neighbor from building a second story that blocks a view.

Easements are not permanent and can be challenged if the need no longer exists. If your property is subject to an easement. It’s important to understand how it will impact your property before completing the purchase.