Welcome to the RealTown Real Estate Network!
Member Login | Join RealTown
The Real Estate Network

RealTown Words

The limited right of one person to use another’s land (servient estate) when such right is not created for the benefit of any land owned by the owner of the easement. In such a case, there is no dominant estate, because the easement attaches personally to the owner, not to the land. The easement in gross is an encumbrance on the servient estate. Common examples of this type of situation are utility easements, power line easements, billboard-site easements, and the like. If there is uncertainty as to whether an easement is appurtenant or in gross, most courts interpret it to be an easement appurtenant.

An easement in gross is similar to a license, except that an easement in gross is irrevocable for the period of the owner’s life. For example, the owner of Lot 3 may give his friend a nonrevocable right to cross over Lot 3 and fish in the lake. This right, or easement in gross, terminates upon the death of the friend or upon the conveyance of Lot 3 to a new owner, whichever occurs first. The friend may not assign his right to anyone else. A personal easement in gross may not be assigned by the owner to a third party. Commercial easements in gross, however, such as rights given utility companies to install pipelines and power lines, are a more substantial property interest and are assignable
Dearborn Real Estate Education
This "Word of the day" is excerpted from The Language of Real Estate, 6th Edition by John Reilly (published by Dearborn Real Estate Education, 2006 copyright). To purchase the complete book, with over 2800 key terms and definitions, or to browse through Dearborn's hundreds of other professional real estate titles, including Real Estate Technology Guide by Klein, Barnett, Reilly, click here.