Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Appurtenant Easement Definition:

An easement that runs with and serves a parcel of land known as the dominant tenement, distinguished from the parcel of land on which the easement is imposed (known as the servient tenement).

Related Terms: Easement, Dominant Tenement, Servient Tenement

In Winnighmam, Justice Sam Bird of the Court of Appeals of Arkansas wrote:

"An appurtenant easement runs with the land and serves a parcel of land known as the dominant tenement, while the parcel of land on which the easement is imposed is known as the servient tenement.

"An easement in gross, however, is personal to the parties; it does not have a dominant tenement because it benefits a person or an entity, and not the land.

"When an easement is annexed as an appurtenance to land, whether by express or implied grant or reservation, or by prescription, it passes with a transfer of the land, even though it may not be specifically mentioned in the instrument of transfer.

"An appurtenant easement is incapable of existence separate and apart from the particular land to which it is annexed."

David Kiley wrote, in the Georgetown Law Journal:

"Two distinct tenements are involved in the case of an appurtenant easement, the dominant to which the right belongs and the servient upon which the obligation rests. The appurtenant easement benefits the one estate, the dominant, while it is a burden upon the other, the servient.

"The term servient estate is a figurative term denoting that the land to which the term is applied is subject to an easement. The burden of the easement is not a normal incident of possession because it must exist by separate creation, but when once created it becomes incidental to the possession of the estate subject to it.

"The term dominant estate is also a figurative term denoting that the land to which the term is attached has over the servient land an easement which is appurtenant to the dominant land.

"The appurtenant easement is an incorporeal right which benefits the possessor of the land for which it was created. It is attached to and belongs with this superior right of possession of the dominant estate, passing as incident to it and incapable of existence separate and apart from such possession."

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