Appurtenant Easement

Definition - What does Appurtenant Easement mean?

An appurtenant easement is a condition, a right or a restriction that is associated with a contract or another legal matter. Appurtenant easements are commonly used in property law. When they are used in property law, they often provide rules that are associated with the ownership or use of property.

Appurtenant easements are often required in property law because situations can arise that can call for them. For example, a property may need to be accessed through a bridge or driveway that belongs to a neighbor. In this case, an appurtenant easement may be attached to the document that grants a person legal ownership of the property. It is common for appurtenant easements to be used to regulate the movements or building rights of neighbors.

Justipedia explains Appurtenant Easement

There are times when a landowner will try to sell a portion of their land, which cannot otherwise be accessed by any other means except through their own existing entrance. In these circumstances, the person giving the easement is referred to as the "servient tenant," and the property that benefits from the easement is called the "dominant tenant." The fact that the easement is only given due to an ownership by a second party, over lands that are being accessed, is what allows it to be considered an appurtenant easement.

Utilities companies are allowed to seize the rights for appurtenant easements when the purpose of the easement is to facilitate the ongoing servicing of a public utility such as a telephone or electricity line. Under these circumstances, the utility company will buy a small piece of property from the landowner through an agreement or through a compulsory purchase order, and then they would gain the rights over that folio of property and easements upon it. There are also potential differences between exclusive and non-exclusive appurtenant easements. It is normally the case that once an easement is given, the servient tenant cannot prohibit others from using the easement as well. Exceptions can be made, especially in cases of utility companies where equipment has been placed for the purpose of servicing the overall local system.

Implied easements can also be gained under this area of law. For example, if a large property owner divides parcels of land and sells them individually, then it is implied that an easement to the sites is allowed. Also, if an easement has existed for several generations and then the property is subsequently sold, and the new landowners block the easement, a successful court case can be made for reopening the easement due to analogous or adverse possession. When a person sells property that has no ability to have appurtenant easements attached, the buyer can force the seller to cancel the sale by legal redress. A seller is legally responsible for disclosing the status of the easement prior to any sale being final.

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