What is an easement?

What is an easement? Two signs plus a legal document concerning easements or non-easementsEasements are referenced in home selling, particularly in the preliminary title report and the seller’s disclosures.

But what are they, exactly?

An easement gives a person or an entity the right to use or enter another’s property for a limited and specific reason. Easements are often granted, sometimes in exchange for something valuable (possibly cash). But there are other ways for easements to be created, too. We’ll review them at the end of this article.

See also: Where are the easements? Request a color coded easement map from your title company!

Sometimes, in older shopping centers, you may see a plaque or tile in the walkway stating that the owner gives permission. In the sign to the right, which is difficult to read, it says “Permission to pass is hereby granted at the option of the property owner.”

At other times, you’ll see signage indicating the exact opposite of a right to pass, announcing that a road or path is private and that it is not a right of way.

Often you do not see them at all, as with underground utility company’s right to access the lines.

Common easements

Utility easements are a good example of an entity with these rights. For example, nearly all homes in Silicon Valley get power from P, G, and E. At times there are underground utilities and at times there are above ground power lines, but either way, those lines belong to P,G, and E and that utility company has a right to access, service, and protect them. They may trim trees or bushes that risk interfering with the lines and causing a fire, for instance.

What Is A Plat Map, And What Can You Learn From It?

A plat map comes with your preliminary title report (provided by your title company with maps from the Santa Clara County tax assessor’s office when you purchase or sell a home in California), tucked away at the back and somewhat mysterious with lots of numbers in small print. It holds quite a bit of helpful information if you know what it is you’re seeing. Today we’ll view a sample of one of these – breaking down the plat map shown as a small thumbnail image on the right to more readable parts so that you can learn how to “read” or understand a plat map.

Quick overview of what’s on a plat map

There’s a wealth of information on the plat map. Take a look and see what you can pick out on your own first.



Plat Map of part of the Cambrian area of San Jose