It can get quite complicated with all the terms and laws involved. One of the terms that can come up is servient estate.
What is a servient estate and how does a parcel of land qualify as one?
To easily understand the definition of a servient estate, first, you have to be familiar with the terms easement and dominant estate and the definition of each.
Terms to Remember
This is what you call the limited right another person’s property holds that can be used for a specific or stated purpose.
There are different types of easements in real estate, and each has its own specifications and requirements.
A dominant estate is the parcel of real property that benefits from an easement.
A servient estate is a property that is subject to an easement.
As stated, if a dominant estate is benefiting from an easement, a servient estate on the other hand is “burdened” by it.
How Does a Property Become a Servient Estate?
To set an example, let’s say you own Property A which is facing a highway, and your neighbor who owns Property B is located behind you and is landlocked.
Now, your neighbor will need a way to get in and out of his own property, so what other way will he be able to do so without violating the rules of real estate?
This is where an easement will come into the picture. A part of your property can be turned into a non-exclusive right-of-way, and your neighbor will be free to use this passageway for him to access his own property anytime.
Your property then becomes a servient estate, and your neighbor’s property on the other hand then becomes a dominant estate.
What Are the Rights and Duties of a Servient Estate?
As there are other different types of easements that an estate can be subject to, there will also be a difference in the rights and duties expected from a servient estate.
If It’s Non-Exclusive…
This gives the property owner more freedom when it comes to using the easement, as long as their activities do not interfere or cause any trouble.
If It’s Exclusive…
This is usually the case if the land over which the easement runs is used for utilities such as high-voltage lines or water lines. The estate owner may be restricted from using the land.
It is also expected that if a servient estate owner also benefits from the easement, he or she is obligated to maintain the property.
Having servient real estate doesn’t make for a bad property, but it’s important to know what it entails in terms of real estate laws and jurisdiction.