Methods of Terminating an Easement (Real Estate)

When an easement is terminated, the burdened property is no longer affected. When the party benefiting from the easement and the party subject to it agree to a release, the next step is to record a deed making the change official.

Methods or factors of termination:

An easement can be terminated by releasing it through the use of a deed. This can be done through a quitclaim or grant deed.

A merger of legal interests by common ownership will extinguish an easement. A merger occurs when the same owner acquires fee title to both the benefiting and burdened properties. An owner cannot have an easement over his own property.

An easement can be terminated through destruction of the burdened property which permanently prevents any further use of the easement. The destruction of burdened property will terminate the easement since nonexistence of the property renders the easement invalid and unnecessary.

Forfeiture due to the easement holder’s abuse of the easement rights will terminate an easement. The standards for forfeiture are left to the discretion of the courts and are determined on a case-by-case basis.

An easement can be canceled by prescription due to the burdened property owner’s continuing interference with the easement. These are actions by the burdened property holder which permanently obstruct the beneficial use enjoyed by the holder of an easement.

When the holder of an easement no longer uses the property, it is considered an abandonment, which cancels the easement by showing that the easement holder no longer intends to use the rights granted by the easement. In order to terminate an easement by abandonment, the easement holder’s actions must clearly demonstrate an obvious intent to abandon all future use of the easement.