Definition of "Servient estate"

Edna I Rivera real estate agent
Edna I Rivera, Real Estate Agent Keller Williams Fort Myers & The Islands

As the term “servient” comes from the root word “serve” and to serve means to perform a duty or a service for another entity, its meaning is easy to define. The term servient estate refers to an estate or property that is subject to being used for the benefit of another property. These benefits can come in the form of easements, rights of way, or rights of access. These rights are granted by law and are passed through purchasing contracts. 

How does a Servient Estate work?

Upon purchasing a property, the contract can specify that there is an easement across the lot. This means that another property owner has the legal right to use part of the property to access their property. In this case, the property that grants access is the servient estate, while the property being granted access is the dominant estate. 

When an easement is specified and granted in a contract, it gives the easement owner a nonpossessory interest in another property. The easement owner is the owner of the dominant estate, while the one required to allow the easement is the owner of the servient estate. There are different types of easements, from those that would enable the use of someone else’s land to those that limit the servient estate owners from blocking access to view or sunlight. Important to note that the servient estate owner can use the land or property in any way they want as long as they don’t limit the dominant estate owner’s easement on that land. 

When purchasing a property, it is essential to know if it is a servient estate. For this, one should check for easements because if there is a dominant estate with only one access to the beach, which is by the servient house, it can impact the property’s price. Usually, suppose there is an easement on the property that makes it a servient estate. In that case, the price should be lowered because it may limit the owner’s privacy and give the dominant estate owner nonpossessory interest in the servient estate.


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