Keeping in Shape: Property Interests that Run With the Land

Real Estate Law

There is much to know about property rights in general, and easements in particular. In today’s post, we will take a brief look at easements and the concept that easements “run with the land.”

What is an Easement?

An easement is the right to use someone else’s property. It is not property ownership; yet it is a property interest in land that conveys upon the owner of the easement, some right, benefit, dominion, or lawful use out of or over the estate of another.

Sound confusing?

It certainly can be.

To make things clearer, a common example of an easement is the one the local utility company has over your property to install powerlines or pipes. This easement, called one for “ingress and egress,” allows the power company to use your land to carry out its business of providing power to your property and other properties.

Because easements are considered interests in land, they are required to comply with all the formality of other grants in land. This means they should be drawn up and recorded just like any other real estate deed.

In Georgia, there are 4 types of easements. They are:

1. an agreed upon easement,

2. an easement by prescription (i.e., adverse possession),

3. an easement by necessity, or

4. an easement by compulsory purchase.

Easements are classified as incorporeal interests because they carry no control over the land itself.

Running With the Land

When land is sold, leased or otherwise transferred, a critical question is whether or not the easement gets transferred also.

The answer is that easements which “run with the land,” or, in other words, are tied to the land, will be transferred with the land.

There are generally two types of easements when it comes to “running with the land” issues. They are easements “appurtenant” and “easements in gross.”

An easement “appurtenant” typically runs with the land. In other words, if the land is sold, the easement goes with it. This type of easement is “tied to the land” and essentially becomes part of the property’s legal description.

Easements in “gross” were traditionally easements that could not be transferred and were not tied to a particular piece of land. They were often easements granted in favor of a particular person. Frequently called “personal” easements now, this type of easement does not continue if the land is sold. However, in some situations, an easement that began as personal, such as a commercial easement to a utility company, may be transferable.

Our Experience is Your Advantage

At the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, we put our experience to work for you. If you a real estate problem, call us. We have offices in Cumming and we serve Atlanta and multiple counties, including: Clayton County, Cobb County, Dekalb County, Douglas County, Fulton County, and Paulding County, among others.  To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707. Or contact us here.

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