Featured image for Understanding Easements: Essential Knowledge for Property Practitioners

Understanding Easements: Essential Knowledge for Property Practitioners

Understanding Easements: Essential Knowledge for Property Practitioners

As property practitioners, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of easements. Easements are a complex area of property law that often arise in real estate transactions, and having a strong grasp of their principles and implications is essential for providing effective legal advice to clients. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of easements in detail, covering their definition, types, creation, and termination.

Definition and Types of Easements

So, what exactly is an easement? In simple terms, an easement is a legal right that one party (the dominant owner) has to use or enter another party’s property (the servient owner) for a specific purpose. The purpose of an easement can vary, ranging from the right to access a neighboring property through a shared driveway to the right to pass wastewater through an underground pipe.

Easements can be categorized into several types, each serving a distinct purpose. Some common types of easements include:

1. Right of Way: This type of easement grants the dominant owner the right to pass through the servient owner’s property, such as a pathway or driveway.

2. Easement of Support: This easement allows the dominant owner to receive support from the servient owner’s land, typically relevant in cases involving adjoining buildings or structures.

3. Easement of Light and Air: This easement ensures that the dominant owner’s property receives an adequate amount of natural light and air, often applied in urban areas with buildings that could potentially block sunlight or ventilation.

4. Easement of Drainage: This easement permits the dominant owner to drain water onto the servient owner’s property or allows the servient owner to drain water through the dominant owner’s property.

Creating an Easement

Easements can be created in various ways, and it is essential to understand these methods to properly advise clients. Here are some common ways in which easements are created:

1. Express Grant: An easement can be created through an express grant, which is a written agreement between the dominant and servient owners outlining the terms and conditions of the easement.

2. Prescription: If a party has openly and continuously used another’s land for a specific purpose without interruption for a certain period, they may acquire an easement by prescription. This is similar to adverse possession, but instead of claiming ownership, the party claims the right to use the land.

3. Necessity: In certain situations, easements of necessity may arise. For example, if a landlocked property owner has no other means of accessing their property, a court may grant them an easement to ensure access.

4. Implication: Easements can also be implied by the circumstances surrounding the property. An implied easement typically arises when there is a clear intention for an easement to exist, even if it is not explicitly stated in any formal document.

Terminating an Easement

Easements can come to an end in various ways, and understanding these termination methods is crucial to ensure clients’ rights are protected. Here are a few common ways in which easements can be terminated:

1. Agreement: If both the dominant and servient owners agree, they can terminate an easement through a formal agreement. This agreement may be in writing and should be properly executed to ensure its legality.

2. Abandonment: If the dominant owner stops using the easement and demonstrates a clear intention to abandon it, the easement may be terminated. However, abandonment generally requires more than a temporary cessation of use.

3. Merger: If the dominant and servient properties come under common ownership, the easement may be terminated through merger. When a single owner possesses both properties, there is no longer a need for an easement.

4. Expiration of Purpose: If the purpose for which the easement was created no longer exists, the easement may be terminated. For example, if an easement was granted to allow a property owner to access a neighboring property for construction purposes, once the construction is completed, the easement may no longer be needed.


Easements are a vital aspect of property law, and having a deep understanding of their principles is crucial for property practitioners. From knowing the various types of easements to understanding their creation and termination, being well-versed in this area of law is essential for providing sound legal advice to clients.

If you found this article helpful, you may also be interested in exploring our related articles:

SQE 1 Practice Exam Questions
SQE 1 Practice Mocks FLK1 FLK2
SQE 2 Preparation Courses
SQE 1 Preparation Courses
SRA SQE Exam Dates

At SQE Property Law & Land Law, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal services to property practitioners. If you require further assistance or would like to learn more about our areas of expertise, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.