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What Is an Easement Appurtenant?

An easement appurtenant is an easement held incident to ownership of some land. An easement is an interest for the purpose of using the property of another person for a stated reason. Considered as a property right at common law, an easement is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, though, this is termed as equitable servitude. However, easements did not originate in equity.

There is a type of easement that attaches to the land permanently and benefits its owner. It is called easement appurtenant. There must be two pieces of land owned by different individuals in order for it to exist. The dominant estate or tenement is the land that benefits from the easement.

In contrast to that, the other piece of land called servient estate or tenement carries the burden of the easement. An easement appurtenant is a covenant running with the land due to its incapability of separating and having an independent existence from the land to which it occupies.

An easement not appurtenant to any estate in the land is called easement in gross. Easement in gross occurs when a servient piece of land exists without affecting a domain piece. Ordinarily personal, this type of easement does not run with the land.

For example, if A has a number of trees on his or her property and B contracts with A to enter A's land to remove timber, B has both an easement in gross and a profit. At Common Law, an easement in gross could not be assigned. However, most courts currently allow certain types of easements in gross to be transferred.

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