There are many types of easements. Generally, an easement is a right to use another person’s land for a specific purpose.
For example, A and B own houses on a single lot with a single driveway wherein A lives in the front house and B lives in the back house. A owns the driveway. In order for B to access the street from his house, he will need to drive over A’s driveway. In this instance, B will need an easement to travel over A’s driveway.
In California, an easement is usually established in one of four ways: expressly, prescriptively, impliedly, and through necessity. Here is a further look into these four different types of easements:
An express easement is created by a written agreement between the landowner and the individual who seeks to use the landowner’s land. Typically, this agreement is recorded with the county recorder’s office in the county where the property is located.
A prescriptive easement is created in a process similar to gaining ownership of a property through adverse possession. A person claiming prescriptive easement must show that he has used the easement openly, notoriously, continuously for a period of five years, and adversely, meaning the use of the easement is without the consent of the owner of the property. The only difference between establishing an easement through prescription and gaining ownership of property through adverse possession is that property taxes do not need to be paid to establish a prescriptive easement.
An implied easement is created when an intent is inferred by law that the parties intended to create or transfer an easement even though there is no written document showing such intent. For an implied easement to exist, the following three conditions must exist: (1) the owner of one property conveys a portion of that property to another; (2) the owner used the property in such a way that the parties believed or intended that the use would continue after the portion of the property was conveyed; and (3) the implied easement is necessary for the buyer of the portion of the property to use and enjoy his land.
Easement by Necessity
An easement by necessity is similar to an implied easement. Just like an implied easement, an easement by necessity is created when the owner of one property conveys a portion of that property to another. The difference is that in this instance, the owner did not use the property in such a way that an easement was intended based on the owner’s previous use of the property. Rather, the right-of-way must be necessary, such as when the portion of the property conveyed is landlocked, and the buyer’s only access to the main road is through the main property.
There are many types of easements, and it is okay not to know which one you need, or have. You may need the help of a real estate attorney to figure out which type of easement it is you need. To see if you qualify for a free 30-minute consult, you can contact us by the following: Call: (310) 954-1877 | Text: (323) 487-7533 | Email: email@example.com | Send us a message!
See related: What is a Public Utility Easement (PUE)?
By: Carina Woo, esq.