Wed. Sep 20th, 2023
    Understanding Easements in Commercial Real Estate Transactions

    Commercial real estate transactions can be complex, and it is important for all parties involved to conduct their due diligence to avoid future problems. One key aspect to consider is the existence of an easement and how it impacts the property and ownership rights.

    An easement is a limited right to use someone else’s property for a specific purpose. There are two types of easements: easement appurtenant and easement in gross. Easement appurtenant involves two parcels of land, with the servient tenement allowing for the easement and the dominant tenement benefiting from it. An example of this is when one landowner has the right to drive over another’s land. This type of easement usually stays with the land even when ownership changes.

    On the other hand, an easement in gross does not require a dominant tenement. Instead, there is a servient tenement and a party who benefits from the easement, such as a utility company running power lines over someone’s land. This type of easement is not typically transferable with the land but can be assigned to another party.

    Determining the existence of an easement may not always be straightforward. While it may be clearly defined in the property deed, there are also instances where an easement is implied or arises out of necessity. For example, if a landlocked parcel of land is sold without providing for access to a public roadway, an implied easement may be granted to allow access. In Pennsylvania, certain conditions must be met to create an easement by necessity, including the previous unity of title, its severance, and the necessity for land use.

    Overall, understanding easements is essential in commercial real estate transactions. It is advised to consult with legal professionals to ensure clarity and avoid any issues in the future.

    – Unruh Turner Burke & Frees