What is an 'Easement In Gross'

An easement in gross is an easement that attaches a particular right to an individual or entity rather than to the property itself. The easement in gross is often considered irrevocable for the life of the individual, but it can be rendered void if the individual sells the property upon which the easement request was based.

BREAKING DOWN 'Easement In Gross'

The individual who benefits from the easement in gross is unable to transfer the associated rights to any other person. If the property is transferred to another owner, through sale, inheritance or any other mechanism, the current easement in gross is considered void. The new property owner can attempt to reach a new easement in gross agreement, but there is no guarantee the right will be granted.

Example of Easement in Gross

For example, a homeowner may have an easement in gross with a neighbor, allowing the homeowner to use a path through the neighbor's woods to reach the property. If the homeowner then sells the property, the rights granted in the easement in gross cannot be automatically passed to next property owner.

The party who is granted permissions by the property owner through an easement in gross does not have to own or reside in a neighboring property to be granted the associated rights. Additionally, the permissions granted in the easement may be as broad or specific as desired. When dealing with easements in gross, the property owner often has the most say regarding the limitations stated in the easement.

Understanding Easements

Easements grant specific rights or privileges to someone other than the property owner. Some common easements permit utility companies, such as water or electric companies, to enter a property to access the cables or piping involved in supporting the service they provide. This also limits the actions that can be taken by the property owner in regards to the property noted in the easement.

For example, if a utility company has an easement, to run necessary cabling, the property owner may not be able to build certain structures on the land included in the agreement. This can include restricting the addition of a swimming pool, a driveway or another permanent structure that may interfere with the company’s ability to access the land specified.

Some easements, especially those given to utility companies, carry with them significant interest and can ultimately be assigned to other parties. If a piece of real estate is purchased without the seller disclosing the nature of an easement, the buyer can seek legal remedies if the easement reduces the value of the property.

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