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What Is Appurtenance?

An appurtenance is a term for something subordinate attached to a more important thing. For example, the equipment consisting of miscellaneous things needed for a certain operation or sport, like the rigging or tackle of a ship, is an appurtenance. Appurtenances can either be physical or intangible in nature and they become attached to something else by law or by convention. In law, an appurtenance is a property that is incidental to a principal property and that passes with the principal property upon sale or transfer.


The term appurtenance is most often used in the context of real estate. In real estate, a physical appurtenance would be something found on the land, which is of lesser value than the land itself. For example, a shed or garage found on a property holding a small suburban home is an appurtenance. Although it is detached from the house itself, it is still considered part of the property, which means that it will not be removed when the house is sold. Appurtenances can also be intangible in nature such as an easement. An easement is a right held by one property owner to make use of the land of another for a limited purpose, as right of passage. One example would be a driveway easement. When two homes are set too close to each other, they may share the same driveway, which is found in between the two houses. When one of the properties is sold, the easement goes with it as well.


In some instances, it is possible to make negotiations for these appurtenances, making it important for people looking to buy or rent properties to be aware of the attachments that come with the property in question, as they may affect its utility, function, and value.

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