Easement is a non-possessory right that allows the holder to occupy or use real property that he or she may not actually own. Easement rights are limited in nature, and are restricted to whatever is “convenient or necessary” to satisfy the purposes of the easement. There are two main types of easements that are common in real property: easements appurtenant and easements in gross.
Easements appurtenant are characterized by benefiting a particular parcel of land, the dominant estate, to the detriment of another, the servient estate. This type of easement is tied to the land, and transfers automatically with the sale of either estate. For example, an easement used to access remote land through another property may hold its integrity upon the sale of either parcel.
Easements in gross differ in that they benefit a person or entity, rather than the land itself. Although the easement may transfer with the sale of the land, the beneficiary of the easement may not transfer the easement to another entity or person. To provide an example, if a utility company holds an easement to construct power lines across a property, the utility company maintains this right if the property were to be sold to a third party, although cannot transfer its easement to another utility company.
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