When you buy a property, it may already have an easement. This means that a legal agreement has already been reached where someone who doesn’t own that property is allowed to use it. This use may be very limited in scope, depending on the terms of the easement.
For example, this often happens when two property owners share the same driveway because one property is cut off from the main road. The non-owner is allowed to use the driveway and cross the owner’s property if they need to.
But what if you are the one buying the property, and you never agreed to that type of use? Do you still have to honor that easement?
2 types of easements
The thing to remember here is that there are two different types of easements. The first is called an easement appurtenant. This type of easement is said to “run with the land.” It is now part of the land and you do have to honor it if you buy that property. The agreement can also impact the value and price of the property, for this reason.
The second type of easement is called an easement in gross. This type is not tied to the land and does not have to be honored. You and the other property owner can simply discuss what you would like to do. But you’re not legally obligated to allow them to continue to have access if you’d like to end the agreement.
Considering your options
Easements are just one thing that can make real estate transactions a bit more complicated than they would be otherwise. All who are involved in this process need to be well aware of their legal options.