An easement gives someone else the right to use your property, but only for a certain purpose. They do not have an ownership interest in the property the easement is on, just the right to be there.
There are three types of easements: easements appurtenant, easements in gross and prescriptive easements.
An easement appurtenant is attached to the property is on. If that property is sold, inherited or otherwise changes ownership, the easement goes along with it.
Easement appurtenant involves neighboring parcels of land. The dominant estate is the one that gets to use the easement on the other neighbor’s property. The property where the easement is located is referred to as the servient estate.
Some easements appurtenant are easements by necessity. For example, a home landlocked by other property would need an easement to access the road. This type of easement does not need to be recorded.
Unlike easements appurtenant, easements in gross only involve one piece of land that someone else has access to. For example, a utility company may have a gross easement to land where electric poles are located.
Gross easements do not necessarily follow the land when the land changes ownership, although there are some exceptions, such as easements for utility companies.
Prescriptive easements are similar to adverse possession. If your neighbor uses a part of your land openly and continuously for a certain number of years, they will have a prescriptive easement to continue using the land in that manner.
So, if you own land know who has an easement on it and for what purpose, especially if you plan on conveying the real estate. And if you do not want a prescriptive easement to develop, take steps to ensure others are not using your property in ways you do not want them to.