License and Easement in Property Law 1

LICENSE AND EASEMENT IN PROPERTY LAW

Easement- An easement is a non possessory right to use and/ or onto the real property of another without possessing it. It is “best typified in the right of way which one landowner, A may enjoy over the land of another, B.”

License- A license is simply a permission to use land. It allows someone access to the land of another for an agreed purpose. It is an authority that justifies what would otherwise be a trespass. It does not confer any interest in land.

License, in property law, permission to enter or use the property of another There are three categories of license: bare licenses, contractual licenses and licenses coupled with an interest. A bare license occurs when a person enters or uses the property of another with the express or implied permission to enter or use the property in exchange for some consideration. For example, a person entering a gas station to ask for directions is a licensee and not a trespasser. Contractual License provides

, express or implied permission to enter or use the property in exchange for some consideration . For example, the purchase of a movie ticket allows the ticket holder a license to enter the theatre at a particular time. Licenses that are acquired by contract normally include the right to use property that is protected by potent, copyright or trademark. A license coupled with an interest arises when a person acquires the right to take possession of property located on someone else’s law, as when a lender acquires the right to repossess an automobile that is located on private property after the borrower has defaulted on a loan.

Bare licenses generally are not assignable (transferable) and are revocable at will by the property owner. The assign ability and revocability of contractual licenses normally depend on the terms of contract. Licenses coupled with an interest usually are both assignable and irrevocable, at least until the holder of the license has had a reasonable time to retrieve the property that gave rise to the license.

When a landowner permits another to use the land under circumstances in which it is reasonable to foresee that the licensee will spend money or otherwise change position in the belief that the license will not be revoked, the license may become irrevocable. For example, if a person owns two parcels, one of which has no access to a public road, sells the landlocked parcel to another person, and gives him permission to build a driveway becomes irrevocable when the buyer invests in the property, reasonably believing that the permission will not be revoked. 

Differences between Licenses and Easements- By definition, an easement is an interest in land that lasts either indefinitely or for some specified period of time. A license, on the other hand, is permission to use land that can be revoked at any time. 

Because both easements and licenses involve the use of another person’s land, they can look similar. If the party’s agreement doesn’t clearly specify whether the landowner can revoke permission or whether the grant is durable, a court has to figure out whether they intended to create an easement or a license, which determines whether the landowner can revoke permission.

. Indications that the Grant was to last permanently or for a specific time: if the parties intended the grant to be permanent or for a specific time, the grant is an easement by definition.

. Designations of the area that the grantee can use:- Because a license is revocable at will, the licensor may not be specific about the area subject to the license. In contrast, because an easement is an interest in land, the statute of frauds may require some specification of the land subject to the easement.

. Even if it doesn’t, the grantor of an easement is more likely to be specific about the grantee’s rights, because the grantor can’t just change her mind if she is unhappy with what the grantee does.

. The right to make improvements: – If the grantee has the right to improve the land somehow, the parties probably intended to create an easement. A license is more temporary and less substantial, so the licensee is unlikely to make investments in the licensee’s havoc, knowing that the licensor can revoke permission to use her land anytime.

The difference between a license and an easement is that easements refer to the permanent right of use or interest over another’s property. It is the non-possessory property interest that the benefit party holds in a land that is owned by the burdened party, which entitles the interest holder to enjoyment or limited use of that land.

Easements fulfill the need to use a property at another’s expense. Since an easement is simultaneously a burden to the property owner (the servient)  and of benefit to the holder, it will significantly affect the value of the individual properties. As such, the true extent of an easement must be clearly understood.

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