Select your state

Real property


An easement is an interest in land that is owned by another person and gives the easement holder or easement owner the right to use or control the other person’s land in some limited way—such as the right to drive across another person’s private property to access a public highway or other public road (an ingress-and-egress easement).

There are many different types of easements, depending on the nature of the use of the land—such light-and-air easements; mineral easements; timber easements; noise easements; and railroad easements—and how the easement was acquired—an express easement; an implied easement; a prescriptive easement; an easement by necessity; or an easement by estoppel, for example.

There are also negative easements that prohibit the owner of a property (the servient-estate) from doing something, such as building a home or structure that blocks the view or sunlight for an easement holder—often an adjoining property owner (the dominant estate).

Public utility companies (gas, electricity, telephone, water, sewer, cable, etc.) often have easements to place utility transmission, distribution, or power lines on private property and access them for installation, repair, and maintenance.

Laws regarding easements vary from state to state and may be located in a state’s court opinions (also known as its common law or case law) or in its statutes.

In Texas, an easement is a legal right to use another person's land for a specific purpose. Easements can be created in various ways, including expressly through a written agreement, impliedly by longstanding use, by necessity when landlocked, or by prescription after continuous and adverse use for a period of time (typically 10 years in Texas). Types of easements include ingress-and-egress, light-and-air, mineral, timber, noise, and railroad easements, among others. Negative easements restrict the servient estate owner from performing certain actions that could affect the dominant estate, such as obstructing a view or sunlight. Public utilities often hold easements for installing and maintaining infrastructure. Texas easement laws are derived from both statutory law and common law (court opinions). The Texas Property Code provides statutory guidance on easements, while case law further refines and interprets these legal principles. It's important for easement holders and property owners to understand their rights and obligations under Texas law, and disputes over easements are often resolved in court.

Legal articles related to this topic