In its simplest description, an easement is the right to use another person’s real estate for a specific purpose.
By way of example, an easement could be a right to use an access or drive-way, a drainage ditch, a utility line, etc. located on another person’s property.
Often times, in the case of subdivision development, easements creates an opportunity for multiple properties to share the ability to use a common access, drainage , or utility area, and this creates efficiencies and minimizes the area needed for a particular development.
However, an easement can exist between two adjacent property owners that share access to a waterbody.
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In theory, an easement can be created for many unique and specific purposes, as in the case of a view corridor easement giving one owner of property the ability to restrict a sightline on an adjacent property.
When acquiring real estate, it’s important to understand what types of easements benefit the real estate and what types of easements burden the real estate.
It should also be noted that easements can be created by a written agreement, by a course of dealing between two property owners, or by a historical use of one party without the interference and consent of the property owner.
Engaging a real estate attorney will be prudent for understanding whether an easement exists, putting an easement in place, or the benefits and burdens under a particular easement.