There are three basic interests in land: the estate, which grants the right of possession; the easement, which grants a right of use; and the restrictive covenant, which restricts other parties’ rights to use their land.
The estate, which is the ownership and/or possession of land, has three possible types of ownership. The first is called Joint Tenancy. Joint Tenancy is where each joint tenant has an undivided right of possession of the whole property and a right of survivorship. The right of survivorship is the most important feature of a joint tenancy. When one joint tenant dies, that interest is extinguished and the surviving joint tenant retains an undivided interest in the property.
The second type of tenancy is a Tenancy in Common. A conveyance to more than one individual is presumed to be a tenancy in common. The interest that each owner has may be transferred, devised by Will and inherited. Tenants in Common have rights of partition, but no right of survivorship.
The third type of tenancy is Tenancy by the Entireties. This type of tenancy is only available to married couples. In Pennsylvania, it is the presumptive form of ownership when spouses acquire property. The spouses have a right of survivorship.
An Easement gives the right to use the land to another person. Easements are typically given for one of two reasons. The first is a utility easement, whereby local utility companies may enter upon portions of your land for servicing. The second type of easement is typically for allowing a means of ingress and egress to an adjacent property owner.
A Restrictive Covenant is a property interest that gives one property owner a right to restrict and regulate another property owner’s use of his own land. The most common form of a restrictive covenant appears in newly developed neighborhoods, whereby landowners are restricted from developing land in a certain way, or are restricted from uses contrary to the good of the neighborhood.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions regarding Real Property. To set up an nitial consultation, contact my office at 412-823-8003 or send an email to Attorney Greg Artim