Easement, also referred to as equitable servitude, is the right to do something or the right to prevent something over the real property of another. It is treated by most jurisdictions as a property right in itself.
The right is often described as the right to use the land of another for a special purpose. Unlike a lease, an Easement does not give the holder a right of "possession" of the property, only a right of use. It is distinguished from a license that only gives one a personal privilege to do something on the land of another. Licenses in general can be terminated by the property owner much more easily than Easements. This is similar to a but not the same as a wayleave. Easement also differ from licenses in that they are attached to the land, not to a person. This means that a property that enjoys an easement over another will continue to enjoy the Easement even if the property gets transferred to a different owner.
Easement concepts differ substantially from country to country, and in the U.S. from state to state. Historically, it was limited to the right-of-way and rights over flowing waters, although this is no longer true. Traditionally, it was a right that could only attach to an adjacent land and was for the benefit of all, not a specific person; this is also no longer true in many jurisdictions.
Public Easement are those that grant the right to a large group of individuals such as the easement on public streets/highways, or the right to navigate a river.
Private Easement are those limited to specific individuals or entities such as the owner of adjoining lands.
Appurtenant Easement are ones that benefit the dominant tenement.
Gross easements benefit the personal holder of the right and do not pass automatically to another person when the easement holder's property is sold and bought. It is attached to an individual person/legal entity rather than a parcel of real estate served by the easement. Courts hold that commercially oriented easements in fee are freely alienable.
Floating Easement, also considered roving easements, occur in the absence of definite location, right of way, method or description. They become fixed only after construction and cannot be further changed.
- Easement Wikipedia entry