What is an easement?

You may have heard of easements but don't quite understand the term. If you are looking to purchase property and the deed mentions an easement, it's important to know what that entails. 

The legal jargon

By definition, "an easement is a non-possessory property interest that allows the holder of the easement to use the property that he or she does not own or possess."

An easement granted by the property owner allows a non-owner to use a designated area of their land. The easement does not grant ownership, simply the usage, and the easement holder cannot modify or occupy the land.

Real world application

If your land bordered the Chattahoochee National Forest and your neighbor wished to access the forest without making a long trip to a public access point, you could grant him an easement. The easement would allow him to cross your property to enter the forest.

Once the easement was in place, you could not alter the land in the easement in a way that would detract from its use, such as building a fence blocking access. The easement holder would also be allowed to make reasonable changes to fully utilize the easement, such as clearing brush blocking the pathway.

The fine print

Easements are typically documented in a will or added to the property deed and require formalities associated with updating those documents. When creating an easement, details such as location and length of easement term should be outlined. Easements are generally permanent and transfer with the dominant property when sold.

Easements can be terminated by the dominant property owner purchasing the subordinate estate, or the easement holder can relinquish his right voluntarily. If an easement is misused, the property owner can terminate the easement. Easement termination should be in writing, and modifying the will or deed to reflect the changes is preferred to a verbal agreement.

Easements can expand usage opportunities for landlocked property or detract market value when they limit development options.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • State Bar of Georgia - Lawyers Serving the Public and the Justice System
  • Gainesville, Georgia - Since 1821
  • TOBA - Thoroughbred Owners & Breeders Association
  • Fenway-Foundation

Tell Us About Your Legal Need

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

The Roberts Law Firm, P.C.
604 Green Street
Gainesville, GA 30501

Toll Free: 866-594-7535
Phone: 404-537-2796
Fax: 404-841-0775
Gainesville Law Office Map