legal. non-possessory interest in real property that conveys use or partial use. but not ownership. of all. or more typically a portion. of an owner’s property.
An easement is a nonpossessory right to use and/or enter onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is "best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A, may enjoy over the land of another, B". It is similar to real covenants and equitable servitudes; in the United States, the Restatement (Third) of Property takes steps to merge these concepts as servitudes.
Easements are helpful for providing pathways across two or more pieces of property, allowing individuals to access other properties or a resource, for example to fish in a privately owned pond or to have access to a public beach. An easement is considered as a property right in itself at common law and is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions.
The rights of an easement holder vary substantially among jurisdictions. Historically, the common law courts would enforce only four types of easement:
- Right-of-way (easements of way)
- Easements of support (pertaining to excavations)
- Easements of "light and air"
- Rights pertaining to artificial waterways
Modern courts recognize more varieties of easements, but these original categories still form the foundation of easement law.