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What happens if an easement “runs with the land”?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Real Estate Law

When you purchase a piece of property, it’s important to know if it comes with an easement attached. There are two main types of easements, which are known as an easement appurtenant – where the easement “runs with the land” – and an easement in gross, which is often known as a personal easement.

A personal easement can be eliminated when the property changes hands. It generally means that two property owners had a standing agreement with each other. That agreement is not officially part of the land in any sense, so the new property owner gets to decide if they want to honor it or not. But things can be very different if an easement is classified as one that runs with the land.

Changes to the land itself

With an easement appurtenant, the actual legal description of the land is changed. The easement becomes part of the land, and an inherent part of that property. What this means is that the easement is transferred along with that property it is purchased by a new owner. A seller of the affected property is required to disclose that it exists before the property is purchased by someone new, as the easement can impact the value of the property in question.

In many scenarios, an easement appurtenant may be critical to someone else’s ability to use their own property. A common example of a situation in which this kind of easement may come into play involves when one property separates the other from a main road. The owner of the property that has been separated may have an easement allowing them to drive across the first property. Without that permission, they would not be able to use their own land.

Easements can get complicated, and they are just one factor to consider when buying or selling real estate. If you are going through the process of navigating a real estate transaction, it’s very important to know exactly what legal options you have and what your rights are. That way, you can make truly informed decisions about your situation.