What is an Easement in Gross?

An easement in gross is the right to use another person’s land (legally) for as long as the holder of that easement is alive.

How Does An Easement in Gross Work In The Real World?

Pretend your neighbor Mary owns ten acres of land (including an amazing fishing pond). Mary sells you an easement in gross so you are able to access the pond for fishing. With an Easement In Gross, you are able to catch all the catfish and bass you want until Mary sells the property or dies. This is a simplified explanation of how an Easement In Gross works, but you get the idea.

Another great example is your power company. Your power company normally has this type of an easement so they can access your power line to keep services operational. There are normally obvious limitations on what the power company can and can’t do of course. For example, just because they have this type of easement, it does not mean they can come fishing in your neighbors pond. They are limited to working on the power lines.

Why Should You Care About An Easement in Gross?

Easements often can be negotiated, and often they accompany the deed to a piece of property (so that the users of an easement don’t lose access if the property sells). Sometimes, easements become implied if the same parties use a portion of a property for a long period of time.

What About Easements In Gross Should I Know For The Real Estate Exam?

Studying for the real estate exam, you do not need to spend a lot of time on this topic. If you understand the example in the first paragraph and how it differs from say a perspective easement, appurtenant easement  or an easement by necessity, you should be in a good position to get these questions correct.