An easement is a right to use real property for a particular purpose without interference from the owner of that property. An easement can be attached to another piece (or pieces) of property for the benefit of their owner (or owners), it can be for the benefit of anyone, or can be for the benefit of some public authority.

Easements fall into these broad categories:

  • Express easement, where the property owner explicitly gives the permission to use the property, either for consideration or gratuitously
  • Implied easement, where the creation of certain rights to property would naturally lead to the conclusion that an easement exists
  • Easement by necessity, where the use of an easement is required for a person to make use of their property
  • Easement by prescription, where the use of the property has continued openly for a lengthy period of time
  • Easement by prior use
  • Easement by estoppel
  • Easement by government, such as an allowance for a road or utilities.

The four basic common law easements are:

  • A right of way
  • The right to support of property during an excavation
  • The right to receive light and air
  • Artificial waterways

The easements that are generally recognized in modern use are

  • Right to light or solar easements
  • Aviation easement
  • Railway easement
  • Utility easement
  • Sidewalk easement
  • View easement
  • Driveway easement, or easement of access
  • Beach access
  • Dead end easement, for pedestrian access
  • Conservation easement
  • Historic preservation easement
  • Easement of support
  • Communications easement
  • Ingress/Egress easement

See also license (real property)