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What is an easement?

| Jan 4, 2019 | Land Use |

It is a common belief among New Jersey residents that if someone has an interest in a parcel of property that they must own it. While this is often true it does not necessarily have to be the case. When a person has an easement they hold a nonpossessory interest in someone else’s land that does not constitute ownership.

To better understand this somewhat confusing topic, readers are invited to explore this example. Imagine a parcel of land that is locked in by water on three sides. The fourth side of the parcen runs along the property of another person, and the only way for the locked in property owner to get to the local road is to cross their neighbor’s land. Without an easement the locked in property owner would be trespassing on their neighbor’s property each time they crossed it to the road. An easement, though, would give them a right to get to the road through their neighbor’s land without actually giving them any ownership rights in that parcel.

Easements are important rights for landowners to use and establish so that they may preserve the value and enjoyment of the properties they own. They are often included in conveyances of land and property records to ensure that future owners of both the servient and dominant estates understand that they exist.

Anyone who needs an easement to access or use their land will understand just how important these confusing property interests are. Those readers who require more information on the topic of easements or the general realm of land use law are encouraged to discuss their questions with their local land use attorneys.

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