“Exclusive” vs. “Non-Exclusive” Easements

When a person, company or governmental entity holds an “easement” on a portion of real estate, it is a grant of a non-possessory interest in the real estate. The party who has the easement may use the easement real estate in a certain way, but the ownership of the real estate remains with the landowner.

Easements are either “exclusive” or “non-exclusive.” An “exclusive easement” limits the right to use the easement to a particular party at the exclusion of all others. No other party may use the easement.

A “non-exclusive easement” exists when one party has an easement on or over real estate, but the landowner can grant additional easements to other parties on or over the same real estate. In either case, the landowner may typically continue to use the real estate subject to the easement or terms of the easement agreement where his or her use does not conflict with the purpose of the easement.

A party with a non-exclusive easement over a portion of real estate is more limited and cannot, for example, block access to the easement area, since that area is available for use to all parties who have an interest in that portion of the real estate. Co-easement holders must take precautions to not interfere with the rights of other users of the real estate.


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