In real estate, an easement represents the legal ability to use another’s property without actually owning it. In common law, an easement qualifies as a right, and thus you can use a court of law to enforce your rights to an easement. Having a permanent easement, therefore, means that you have access to the property limited only by what you can do on the property and not by how long you can do it.
Types of Easement Agreements
There are several basic types of easements, including the right of way easement, easements related to artificial waterways, easements of support relating to excavations, and easements of light and air. Some types of easements come in the form of positive rights, the right to do something. On the other hand, other types of easements come in the form of negative rights, the right to not have something done to you.
Right of Way
The right of way easement involves permission to pass through an area. This commonly takes the form of a road or other delineated pathway. However, a right of way easement can also include unspecified paths within a general area. This type of right away easement is called a Floating Easement and allows you to pass through a field with no road. With a right of way easement, following construction in the specified area, the easement does not change.
Artificial Waterways, Light and Air
Artificial waterways easements relate to man-made waterways and have a variety of uses. For example, this type of easement may grant you fishing access to a privately owned pond, allow the shipment of cargo or the passage of other vessels. The easement of light and air, however, has a more interpretable application. This type of easement involves a negative right, namely the right to not have light or airspace blocked. This often manifests as a height restriction for neighboring buildings under construction or in the planning phase, if they would block necessary light to another property.
Easement Rights and Responsibilities
A permanent easement allows you to access another property that you do not own for a specified purpose in perpetuity. Additionally, courts will uphold your continued rights to access the property based on your specific easement. Permanent easements can protect your property from some form of encroachment by neighboring properties. These two categories encapsulate the negative and positive kinds of permanent easements.