According to the New York City Bar, an easement is a legal loophole that grants an interested party the right to use another person’s property or land in a certain way despite not having any ownership interest. Typically, parties create easements through grants and via written agreements. However, an easement may develop out of operation of the law. The state of New York does not require parties to exchange money for the granting of an easement.
New York recognizes two types of easements: Prescriptive easements and easement by necessity. A prescriptive easement creates a permanent right for one person to use another’s real property for an express purpose. A prescriptive easement arises from the continued and hostile use of another person’s land for at least 10 years. This type of easement typically grants a person the right to travel through another person’s property, such as via an access road, footpath or driveway, to reach a park, body of water or another section of land.
The second type of easement is easement by necessity. This type of easement typically only grants a person the right to travel through another’s land only. To receive an easement by necessity, the requesting party must prove a “severance of the unity of title.”
Easements can create a lot of hassle for property owners, as they can restrict their rights to control the use of their lands. For this reason, many property owners wonder if they can terminate easements. According to FindLaw, there are select few instances in which a party can terminate an easement.
One way for an easement to end is for one party to buy the other out. If the owner of the dominant estate purchases the servient estate, the state may terminate the easement. The easement may also end if the holder of the easement relinquishes his or her rights in writing.
Some easements go into effect for very short durations. For instance, construction companies may use an easement to ensure workers can pass through a property without issue. These easements ends when construction work ends.
In some states, abandonment of an easement can also remove interest. However, simply not using an easement does not count as abandonment.
In some instances, the misuse or sale of an easement may constitute as grounds for termination. Finally, if the government or some other public authority condemns the servient property, the easement effectively ends.