An easement is an agreement that allows someone who is not a property owner to use that property. It can be very specific regarding how they are allowed to use it. For instance, a neighbor may want to share a driveway, and an easement can give them the right to share that space. They don’t own the driveway and they can’t do anything else there, such as building a structure, but they can use it in accordance with the easement.
But what happens if that property is sold? Is the easement still in effect?
What type of easement is it?
Unfortunately, the answer is not so simple. There are different types of easements, and different rules apply.
For example, an easement appurtenant is one that is recorded in the deed. It is connected to the land or, as people sometimes say, it “runs with the land.” It is now a part of that property and would have to be honored by a new property owner.
On the other hand, it may be an easement in gross. This is an arrangement between two specific individuals, and it is not part of the land. Those individuals do have to honor it for as long as they have agreed, but it would not have to be honored by a new property owner. If that land is sold, then the easement is eliminated – or would have to be renegotiated between the two current owners.
Land use issues like this can get complex as you move to sell or purchase a property. Be sure you know what legal steps to take.