How do Easements Impact Property Values?

An easement is a non-possessory right or privilege in another person’s real property. There are different types of easements recognized in Illinois, including express, implied, and presumed easements. The most common type of easement is an express easement. An express easement is created through an agreement between the owner of the dominant estate (the party benefiting from the easement) and the servient estate (the party burdened by the easement). The terms and conditions of the easement are typically outlined in a written document.

Another type of easement is an implied easement. An implied easement is not formed through an express agreement but rather it arises under special circumstances. A common type of an implies easement is an easement by necessity. This type of an easement is often seen in cases where a landlocked parcel of property exists. Unless there is evidence of a contrary intent, the owner of the landlocked parcel may have the right to access their property by using the adjacent property.

Lastly, another less common type of easement is a presumed easement. A presumed easement, also known as an easement by prescription, is based on the long-standing use of the easement. To establish an easement by prescription, certain criteria must be met (varies by state): the use must be adverse (without permission), uninterrupted, exclusive (not dependent on the rights of other parties), continuous, and under a claim of right. The use must persist for a period (typically 20 years). If these requirements are met, there is a presumption of a right to the easement for the owner of the dominant estate.

Different types of easements may positively or negatively impact the value of a property. Here are some things to consider in assessing the impact of an existing or proposed easement on the value of land:

  • Nature of the Easement: The type and purpose of the easement can affect its impact on property value. For example, if the easement allows for a utility company to access a non-buildable portion of the property for maintenance of power lines, it may have a lesser impact on property value compared to an easement that restricts redevelopment or limits allowed uses on the property.
  • Location and Visibility: The location of the easement and its visibility can influence property value. If the easement is in an inconspicuous area or does not interfere with the property’s primary use, its impact on value may be minimal. However, if the easement is prominent, restricts access, or affects the property’s aesthetics, it could potentially reduce the value.
  • Market Perception: The perception of easements can vary among buyers and investors. Some may see certain easements as benign, especially when they are crafted with care, while others may view any easement as a burden or potential liability.

It’s important to seek professional advice when negotiating the terms of an easement or evaluating the potential impact of an existing easement on the real property. If you need assistance reviewing, negotiating, and/or drafting an easement, we’d love to assist you. You can reach us at

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. It is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. The information provided here does not create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon this information without seeking advice from an attorney licensed in your state or country.