What is ‘Easement’

Easement is a real estate concept that defines a scenario in which one party uses the property of another party, where a fee is paid to the owner of the property in return for the right of easement. Easements are often purchased by public utility companies for the right to erect telephone poles or run pipes either above or beneath private property. However, while fees are paid to the property owner, easements can negatively affect property values in that unsightly power lines, for example, can lower the visual appeal of a piece of land.

Explaining ‘Easement’

Easement is a term that is used to describe a high-level agreement between the owner of a property and another party, either a person or an organization, where that party pays the owner for the right to utilize it for a specific purpose. Since an easement is unique to the agreement between the two parties involved, easement agreements are structured in such a way that the specific use of the property is explicitly outlined and that there is a termination of easement given to the property owner. Easement agreements are sometimes transferred in a property sale, so it’s important for potential buyers to know if there are any easements on the property being evaluated.

Examples of Easements in Real Estate

Easements come in all shapes and sizes, but there are three common types of easement agreements. The first is a utility easement. This type of easement is an agreement between a property owner and a utility company that allows the utility company to run power lines, water piping or other types of utilities through a property. Utility easement agreements are often included in a property’s deed or held by a city or municipality.

Further Reading

  • Factors impacting agricultural landowners' willingness to enter into conservation easements: A case study – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • Why do cattle ranchers participate in conservation easement agreements? Key motivators in decision making – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • Conservation outcomes and social relations: a comparative study of private ranchland conservation easements – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • Irreversible investment under uncertainty: Conservation easements and the option to develop agricultural land – onlinelibrary.wiley.com [PDF]
  • Capitalization of open spaces into housing values and the residential property tax revenue impacts of agricultural easement programs – www.cambridge.org [PDF]
  • Why agree to a conservation easement? Understanding the decision of conservation easement granting – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
  • Land use determines interest in conservation easements among private landowners – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]
  • Landowner attitudes toward conservation easements: Balancing the private and public interest in land – www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
  • Valuation of real estate with easement – www.sciencedirect.com [PDF]