Easements affect the property rights of many real property owners.
An easement grants to the holder a right to use land owned by another.
Easements that grant usage rights are affirmative easements, while easements that restrict the use of one’s own property are negative easements. Easements also differ in the way they are created and in how they are passed.
While most easements are created by formal agreement, an easement may also be created by prescription. If an individual can prove continuous, uninterrupted, visible, and adverse use of land for a period of at least 10 years, an easement by prescription will be created.
Additionally, an easement can be created by necessity. This situation often arises when a landowner sells a portion of his or her property to another and that piece of property is landlocked without access to a road. A court will typically grant an easement by necessity to the new landowner to cross the original landowner’s property for the purpose of reaching a road.
Another type of easement is an easement appurtenant. An easement appurtenant is an easement that is intended to benefit a specific piece of land and not a specific individual. The easement runs with the land and can be utilized by subsequent property owners. An easement from a property owner to a neighbor allowing the neighbor to drive across the property owner’s land to reach a road is an example of an easement appurtenant.
In contrast, an easement in gross is intended to benefit a specific individual. In this situation, the easement stays with the individual holder, regardless of whether or not the holder owns property. An easement granted from a property owner to a neighbor allowing the neighbor to enter the property owner’s land to pick apples is an easement in gross. If the neighbor moves away, the neighbor still retains the right to enter the property and pick apples. The subsequent owner of the neighbor’s property does not take over the easement.
A knowledgeable Missouri real estate attorney at Quitmeier Law Firm can help you understand how easements may affect your property rights.