Easement Law

An easement is a legal interest in real property that gives you the right to use another person’s property. A common example of an easement is when one person is given the right to cross or access a road across another person’s property. Other common examples of easements are phone, gas, and power lines. In addition, sewage and water pipes are also common types of easements that are installed on private property. There are four types of easements in California: express, implied, easements by necessity, and prescriptive easements.

Express Easements

Express easement arises when a landowner grants an easement to another person by written agreement. The express easement agreement can be narrow or broad in scope; it all depends upon what the original parties agreed to in writing. Generally, the landowner is free to use the property as he or she wishes, as long as it does not interfere with the granted use of easement.

Implied Easements

An implied easement, on the other hand, arises without written agreement. The easement comes about when there is a prior use on the property. Implied easements are highly technical and an attorney should be consulted for further information.

However, here is an example to illustrate the concept. Landowner Elijah owns a piece of property called Blackacre. He uses his own dirt road across Blackacre for access to his home and to a nearby public street. Elijah then subdivides Blackacre into two parcels. Elijah may have an implied easement of access across the new subdivided parcel even though he didn’t get an express easement in writing if the all the technical requirements of an implied easement were satisfied.

Easements by Necessity

Similar to an implied easement, an easement by necessity can arise when there is no possible alternative access to crossing the land and getting to a public road. These types of easements must be created by a court order.

Prescriptive Easements

Lastly, a prescriptive easement can be acquired when a person uses another person’s property without the landowner’s consent, but in a way which the landowner would be reasonably aware that the person is using the land. There are specific time requirements and other use requirements for this easement to be obtained.


The bottom line is that easements are often complex and confusing. However, as property lawyers, we have extensive experience assisting land and property owners through the confusing area of easement law. If you have questions about easements, land use, development law, or real estate law, contact us and we would be glad to assist you.

Client Reviews

Attorney Daniel Ogden and his staff were such a help during my estate/will planning. I contacted a couple of attorneys and simply did not feel comfortable using them. Not so with Mr. Ogden. He was thorough and knowledgeable, making us feel very comfortable and secure in the decisions we made...

Ingrid B.

If there was ever an attorney or legal office to trust, this is it! Dont bother going around town and getting the runaround from other people who will only partially represent you or overcharge for partial services. Daniel Ogden and his amazing staff are BY FAR the most competent and friendliest...

Jeremy E.

Daniel Ogden is a first class professional who listens acutely and makes great recommendations. Updating our estate documents was executed with skill and expediency. He is a credit to our community and to his profession.

Hugh T.

Contact Us

  1. 1 Over 35 Years of Experience
  2. 2 Top Rated Law Firm
  3. 3 Schedule Your Appointment

Fill out the contact form or call us at 209-524-4466 to schedule your initial consultation.