What Is An Easement? [Knoxville Real Estate 101]

Do you know what an easement is?

If you’re like many buyers, you may not be completely sure what an easement is and what it can mean for property ownership. In this Knoxville Real Estate 101, we’ll take a closer look a what an easement is and what it can mean for your property owner.

The Definition Of An Easement

An easement is a legal right to use another person’s land for a limited purpose. So, when someone has an easement on your property, they have the legal right to use your property for a specific reason.

Even though someone may be granted an easement to your property, the ownership interest of the property still belongs completely to you. Easements are most commonly used by utility and cable companies.  Sometimes a neighbor will be granted an easement if they need to cross your property line in order to gain access to a road.

Types Of Easements

There are many different types of easements. In this Knoxville Real Estate 101, we’ll cover three of the most common easements you’ll encounter.

Right Of Way

Right of way easements are granted when one person must pass through a property in order to gain access to a main road. For example, if you share your driveway with your neighbor but most of the driveway in on your land, you can grant your neighbor an easement so they can legally access the driveway. You’ll still legally own the land, your neighbor will just be able to utilize the driveway as well so that they can access the main road.

This is the most common right of way easement. Sometimes there are right of way easements granted so neighbors can gain access through a pathway to a public area, like a lake or pool.

Utility Maintenance

Utility easements are another common easement. Utility easements are granted so that power and cable companies can run power and cable lines on a property. Again, this does not mean that a utility company has ownership interest in your property, it just means that they may access the property for utility maintenance.


When you’re part of an HOA, particularly when you’re a condo owner, there are common areas. These common areas are owned by the HOA. An easement allows residents to pass through these common areas.

How Easements Are Created & Ended

In order for an easement to be granted, permission must be given by the property own. When an agreement is met, the easement will become of public record. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the length of the easement can very.

Here are the two main types:

An easement in gross only exists as long as the person who grants the easement owns the property. When the property is sold, the easement no longer exists.

An appurtenant easement, in contrast, is attached to the land. It gets conveyed owner to owner.

An easement can be terminated if a court finds that the easement is being used beyond reasonable uses. For example, if there is a path that grants access to a lake, but over the years more and more crowds utilize it. You may be able to contest the easement in court.

Are you thinking about selling your Knoxville home this year? Please let us know if there is any way that Knoxville Home Team can assist you. Rick can be reached at 865-696-9002 or via email at Rick@KnoxvilleHomeTeam.Com. Kati can be reached by phone at 865-696-1888 or via email at Kati@KnoxvilleHomeTeam.Com.