An easement is a right given to another person or entity to utilize land that the person or entity does not own. Easements can be used for roads, water and sewer lines, drainage, and ponding, or be utilized by private utility companies for the right to bury cables or access utility lines.
Typically, easements are either included as part of the original plat of the property or have been established through negotiation with a property owner. The easement stays in effect until the easement is no longer needed and is vacated. If the property is bought and sold, the easement remains in effect.
Almost every property has an easement of some form on it. The most common form of easement in a residential area is a drainage and utility easement. This easement is normally 5 to 20 feet wide and runs on all sides of a property. This allows for uses such as drinking water, drainage, and sewer conveyance as well as private utilities such as phone, gas, and cable.