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Does an easement end when a house sells?

An easement allows someone who does not own a piece of property the legal ability to use it. Perhaps the most common example is when an easement allows a neighbor to use a driveway to cross someone's land to get to their own home. They don't own that property, but they can drive on the road whenever they need to do so.

What you may be wondering, if you're looking at a property with an easement, is if you will have to honor it if you buy that property. You didn't agree to it, after all. Do you have no choice?

It depends on what type of easement it is. If it's "in gross" then it is not attached to the land. It is just an agreement between two specific people. When that landowner sells to you, you have no obligation to keep the easement in place. You can deny your new neighbor the ability to use your land.

It is attached to the property, though, if the easement is "appurtenant." The agreement is not between the people who made it but is instead a long-term change to the land itself. The old owner will disclose this to you in advance. If you still buy the property, then you have to honor the legal agreement that is already in place. This may make the properly's value less than it would be otherwise since some potential buyers will not consider a property with an easement.

Real estate transactions with easements can get a bit complicated, so be sure you know exactly where you stand.

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