Easement – a right to use the real estate of someone else for a specific purpose, typically for a right of passage. An easement may be created in a number of ways:
Creation of Easements
Grant – Written document containing the required formalities signed by the grantor of the easement conveying the easement and describing its use and location. This is often contained in a deed, but not always.
Express Reservation – Similar to easement by grant, express reservation creates an easement, but in creation of the easement the grantor reserves the right to the easement that is being given; it can’t be exclusively be used by the person receiving the benefit of the easement.
Implication – This type of easement is created where in light of the circumstances surrounding the transfer of real estate, an easement can be presumed to have been intended by the parties involved.
Prescription – Prescription is similar to acquiring property through adverse possession. The easement must be used openly, continuously, and notoriously for twenty years in order for a legal easement to be granted.
Necessity – This is a legal right given to the owner of land-locked property to access their land through an ajoining property from a public way. Proper compensation must be given for the easement. Though this is one way of creating an easement, it is not in Massachusetts.
Legal Termination of Easements
Just as easements can be created, they may also be terminated.
Written Release – A written document signed by the owner of the easement releasing it. This must be signed and notarized.
Abandonment – Non-use of an easement coupled with the lack of intention to do so in the future. Intent is inferred from the circumstances.
Obstruction – If an easement is blocked openly and continuously for twenty years, it shall be considered officially terminated.
Merger – An easement is terminated when two or more parcels of land are merged together under the same ownership. Owner may be an entity or a person.
Lapse of Time – An easement will terminate where the terms of the easement specified a specific time period and that time period has elapsed.
By Foreclosure of A Lien on The Servient Parcel -The Servient Parcel is the property that is providing the easement to the other parcel of land (called the Dominant Parcel). If there is a Lien on the parcel providing the easement, and that property is foreclosed on, the easement is terminated upon the foreclosure.
Other Easement Terms
Appurtenant Easement – An easement created for the benefit of a single property.
Easement in Gross – An easement that is created for the benefit of a number of properties.