EASEMENT IN GROSS: Definition, Examples


You recently purchased land and discover that it is surrounded by fossil fuel pipelines or power lines that run beneath your home. What are you going to do with them? Nothing because you do not own them, but you can allow others to use the property as they see fit. Petroleum and utility corporations enjoy a large easement to install and maintain pipelines and lines. This page discusses easement in gross vs appurtenant, its definition, termination, and practical examples.

What Is An Easement In Gross?

An easement is a legally enforceable right to use someone else’s land for an indefinite amount of time. There are three forms of easements in real estate law: appurtenant easements, personal easements in gross, and commercial easements in gross.

An easement in gross is a sort of easement that grants a person the right to utilize someone else’s land. An easement in gross varies from a common easement appurtenant in that, while it grants a non-owner an irrevocable property right, it does not become part of the title and transmit ownership to the owner.

Consider this: easements in gross attach to a person, while easements appurtenant attaches to the land (and are most often between two adjoining pieces of property). You don’t have to be a neighbor to acquire an easement in gross because they attach to a person.

Assume landowner A owns a piece of land with an excellent fishing hole. Landowner A may offer Mr. Brown, a local fisherman, an easement in gross that allows him to utilize the fishing hole. If landowner A sells the land, or Mr. Brown dies or moves away, the easement is no longer valid.

How Does An Easement In Gross Work?

An easement in gross can be sold to either an individual (personal) or a firm (commercial). For example, if your family owns land adjacent to a highway and a neighboring dairy farm wants to use that highway by cutting through your land, your family may sell a commercial easement in gross to the dairy.

Easements are the property owner’s rights, but if your family sold the land, the new owner is not obligated to continue honoring the easement to the dairy firm.

An easement in gross is essentially the sale of land rights to another person without granting them legal ownership. A permanent encumbrance (legal right) to the property is, on the other hand, an easement appurtenant.

Assume there are two adjoining pieces of property, and the owner of Property A wants to create a driveway but requires 5 feet of Property B’s bordering lot. The owner of Property B grants the easement for a price, but all future owners of Property A will have access to the driveway. Therefore, the 5 additional feet of Property B’s lot that the driveway rests on constitutes an appurtenant easement.

Easement In Gross vs Appurtenant

What is the distinction between an easement appurtenant and an easement in gross? To find out, compare an easement in gross vs easement in appurtenant!

An easement in gross is a right of way provided by one party to another. The rights benefit the entity owning the easement rather than the land.

Utility easements are the most prevalent type of easement in gross, where a firm is granted the right to enter a property to build or access cables or piping in the normal course of business while serving the property owner.

In general, the rights associated with easements do not accompany the land or property.

In other words, if the property is sold, all gross easements are rendered null and void. An appurtenant easement, on the other hand, is a sort of easement that benefits the land rather than just a person.

Because they influence the parcel of land, appurtenant easements are said to “run with the land.” In other words, if the property or land is sold, the appurtenant easement will go with it.

You must have at least two properties in the context of appurtenant easements: one dominating tenement (dominant estate) and one servient tenement (servient estate).

In the context of large easements, there is only one property that serves as the servient estate. For example, a parcel of land can be burdened to provide driveway access to neighboring land.

Easement In Gross Examples

What are some examples of gross easements? There are numerous examples of easement in gross that may be offered to better comprehend and demonstrate the concept.

In general, the most common easements that you may be familiar with are rights granted to utility companies to serve a property (easement by implication), such as:

  • Utility services 
  • Telephone services 
  • Cable television services 
  • Water services 
  • Natural gas services 
  • Pipeline services 

These are common utility easements provided by the property owner to businesses to allow them to deliver necessary services to the property as well as perform routine maintenance and repair.

Another type of easement in bulk is one used to conserve land, such as easements to keep a piece of land or area’s agricultural potential or to preserve forests. You can also have an agreement between two neighbors in which one property owner offers vast easement rights to the other for convenience, such as allowing someone to fish in the property’s ponds.

Easement in Gross Termination

An easement may be permanent, which means it will never expire. The easement’s owner may terminate the easement in a variety of ways. In addition, here are some examples of how easement in gross can expire: When the dominant owner dies, the easement in gross termination also applies.

  • Though there is an easement in a gross agreement defining a purpose for the easement, the termination arises when that purpose can no longer be beneficial, even if the easement agreement does not state it.
  • When a building or structure is destroyed, an easement in gross termination is created.
  • An easement that helps or burdens a fee simple estate terminates when the relevant estate terminates.
  • Trespassing occurs when a property owner interferes with the rights of easement holders. However, the courts will require the removal of the obstruction in the easement in its entirety. In addition, the courts are likely to award compensation to the easement holder for harm.
  • When there is no longer any interest in using the property, the dominant property owner can execute a release agreement with the subordinate property owner’s signature.

How Do I Terminate a Gross Easement?

There are eight ways to discontinue an easement: abandonment, merger, end of necessity, demolition, recording act, condemnation, adverse possession, and release.

Perhaps the most straightforward way to terminate an easement is to persuade the beneficiary to relinquish or renounce their rights to the easement.

Rights Under an Easement in Gross

A holder of a gross contract easement is free to do whatever is necessary to enjoy the benefits offered by the agreement, as long as he or she does not cause unreasonable hardship for the property owner.

In contrast, the land/property owner is free to utilize the property/land without interfering with the easement holder’s use of the rights.

When a court determines that the easement holder has burdened the property by using the easement to an undesirable extent, the property owner can seek legal redress.

They can be court orders limiting the easement holder’s access to the land, monetary damages if the easement holder destroys the property; or even termination of the easement in an egregious agreement.

Similarly, trespass occurs when property owners interfere with the rights of easement holders; courts frequently compel the removal of the obstruction in the easement in gross. The courts may also award the easement holder compensation.

Creation of Easement in Gross

By implication, an easement in gross may be created; which indicates that the easement is required for the use and enjoyment of the land. Utility easements are frequently formed by implication. You can also grant an easement in full to a person or company. A person or company that utilizes your property may also reserve an easement in gross by demonstrating; that it has traditionally used your land for a certain purpose. Easements in gross, unlike ownership rights, do not need to be registered.

What Is a Conservation Easement in Gross?

A conservation easement restricts the use of private land to conserve a threatened species or ecosystem. Conservation easements are always easements in gross, meaning they are not tied to any adjacent land.

Who Owns an Easement in Gross?

The “owner” of a vast easement is the person or entity that benefits from it. There are some exceptions to the usual rule that this form of an easement cannot be transferred. For example, if two utility companies merge, the new firm may inherit any easements owned by its predecessors.


An easement in gross is a right that allows an individual or company to utilize someone else’s land or property. However, it is rendered null and void when the property is transferred, sold, or inherited by another person. It is advantageous to the property owner, and the benefits cannot be transferred to another person.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common form of easement in gross?

Utility company easements

Utility easements are the most frequent type of easement in the United States. A utility easement allows a utility provider to service a portion of a property or maintain equipment required to provide utility services. In gross, pipeline easements are also considered common easements.

What are the most common easements?

There are four types of easements.

  • Express Easements. An express easement is most certainly the most common sort of easement obtained by an individual or corporation.
  • Implied Easement by Existing Use. 
    Easement by Necessity 
    Prescriptive Easement.

Who can have an easement in gross?

An easement in gross is a legal privilege that pertains to a specific person or entity rather than a specific piece of land. A nice example is a plot of land with a Council drain running across it.

Why is it called easement in gross?

A gross easement attaches a specific right to a person or entity other than the property itself. An easement, in general, differs from a conventional easement in that most easements run with the property rather than with a specific party.

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