top of page

Types of Easements in Pennsylvania Real Estate

Types of Easements in Pennsylvania

Navigating the world of real estate in Pennsylvania involves understanding various legal concepts, one of which is easements. An easement is a legal right to use another person's land for a specific purpose. Whether you're buying, selling, or managing property, knowing about different types of easements can help you make informed decisions.


1. Appurtenant Easements

Example: A driveway easement where a property owner has the right to use a neighbor's driveway to access their own property.

Appurtenant easements involve two properties: a dominant estate (the property that benefits from the easement) and a servient estate (the property that is burdened by the easement). This type of easement "runs with the land," meaning it is tied to the land itself, not to the individual property owners.


2. Easements in Gross

Example: Utility companies having the right to install and maintain power lines or water pipes across a property.

Unlike appurtenant easements, easements in gross benefit an individual or entity rather than a parcel of land. These easements are often used for utilities. The holder of an easement in gross has the right to use the servient property for a specific purpose, and this right typically does not transfer when the property is sold.


3. Prescriptive Easements


Example: A neighbor using a path across your property to access a public road for over 21 years.


A prescriptive easement arises when someone uses another person's land openly, continuously, and without permission for a statutory period, which is 21 years in Pennsylvania. If these conditions are met, the user may acquire a legal right to continue using the property.


4. Easements by Necessity


Example: A landlocked property owner needing access to a public road through a neighbor's land.


Easements by necessity occur when a property owner must cross another's land to access their own property. This situation typically arises when a parcel of land is landlocked and has no other access to a public road. The necessity must be absolute; mere convenience does not justify this type of easement.


5. Easements by Implication


Example: A road historically used to access a portion of land that is divided and sold separately.


These easements are not explicitly stated but are implied by the circumstances or the actions of the parties involved. Easements by implication can occur when a property is divided, and there is an obvious and longstanding use that suggests an easement was intended.


6. Conservation Easements


Example: A property owner granting an easement to preserve wetlands and wildlife habitats.


Conservation easements are voluntary, legal agreements that permanently limit the use of the land to protect its conservation values. These easements are often used to protect natural resources, wildlife habitats, and scenic views. Landowners can continue to use the land and sell it, but the restrictions placed by the easement remain in effect.


7. Reciprocal Easements


Example: Commercial properties sharing a parking lot or driveway.


Reciprocal easements involve multiple property owners who mutually grant easements to each other. Each owner benefits from and is burdened by the easement, facilitating cooperation and shared use of certain property features.


Easements are usually recorded with the County's Recorder of Deeds Office and appear during a title search. If you are buying a property that is subject to an easement, you will want to confirm that the easement runs with the property and does not terminate upon a sale or transfer.


Understanding easements is crucial for property owners, buyers, and sellers. Easements can significantly affect property value and usage, and not being aware of existing easements can lead to legal disputes and complications. As an attorney-owned title agency, we at Clover Lane Settlement Services believe in empowering our clients with knowledge. We provide comprehensive title searches and offer the advantage of having legal expertise readily available to address any easement or title issue that may impact your property transactions, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction process for all our clients.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page