Real Property: Servitudes: Easements: Termination of an Easement

Termination of an easement (END CRAMP)
  • Estoppel: servient owner materially changes his or her position in reasonable reliance on the easement holder’s assurances that the easement will no longer be enforced.
    • EX: A tells B that A will no longer use her right of way across B’s parcel. In reasonable reliance, B builds a swimming pool on B’s parcel, thereby depriving A of the easement. In equity, A is estopped from enforcing the easement.
  • Necessity: easements created by necessity expire as soon as the necessity ends. However, if the easement attributable to necessity, was nonetheless created by express grant: it will not end automatically once the necessity ends.
    • EX: O conveys a portion of his 10-acre tract to A, with no means of access out except over a portion of O’s remaining land. The parties reduce their understanding to express writing. Thereafter, the city builds a roadway affording A access out. The easement persists.
  • Destruction of the servient land, other than through the willful conduct of the servient owner will end easement
  • Condemnation of the servient estate by eminent domain.
  • Release: Written release given by the easement holder to the servient owner.
  • Abandonment: Easement holder must demonstrate by physical action the intent to never use the easement again. (But mere nonuse or mere words are insufficient to terminate by abandonment).
  • Merger doctrine (unity of ownership): Easement extinguished when title to the easement and title to the servient land become vested in the same person.
    • Note: If complete unity of title is achieved, the easement is extinguished. Even though there may be later separation of title: the easement is not automatically revived.
  • Prescription: Servient owner may extinguish the easement by interfering with it in accordance with the elements of adverse possession (COAH). [Interference]