An implied easement is a type of ownership interest in land. An easement occurs when an individual is granted the right-of-use of someone else's land. An implied easement, specifically, occurs when the grant of the right of use is implied and not formally written or deeded.
In certain instances, one person may require the use of another person's land for a number of reasons. For example, a home owner may need to run sewer lines along his neighbor's property so that he can be connected to the public sewer system. In other instances, one person may need to have the right to use a path or driveway on a neighbor's land in order to have access to a public road or other desirable location.
An easement is the legal term used to grant the person a partial right to do certain things on someone else's land. For example, in the situation in which a person needs to run sewer lines on his neighbors property, his neighbor could grant him an easement. That easement means he has the right to run those sewer lines.
Easements are a limited type of property ownership. The person who is granted an easement can only do the things that the easement grants. This means if a person is granted an easement to walk on a driveway to get to a beach, the person can walk on that driveway only and he may not do other things on it.
A person can be granted a formal written easement or the easement can be implied. Both are legally enforceable, but to different degrees. An express written easement gives an individual a greater interest in the land. An implied easement is formed when the owner of the land gives the person seeking the easement reason to believe that the easement has been granted. For example, if one individual continually walks on his neighbors road for many years, or if he begins digging sewer lines on his neighbor's property and the property owner doesn't stop him, that may vest him with an implied easement.
Once a person has an implied easement, the property owner usually cannot change the terms of the easement. For example, if an individual builds sewer lines on his neighbor's property with his neighbor's knowledge and implied consent, the neighbor cannot later change his mind. The court will enforce a person's ownership interest in both express and implied easements.
If a person has an implied easement only, as opposed to an express written easement, this does not vest him with as many rights. An implied easement is only valid against the property owner who implied the permission. If that property owner sells the property, the implied easement right ends. If the easement was an express written easement, the property would be sold with the easement attached.