In many ways, the Express Easement is the prim and proper method of creating an Easement. Since an Easement has to do with property rights, most everyone, but especially lawyers and courts, prefers that really important property rights like who can do what, where, and when, be put into writing. In keeping with this maxim, a landowner must expressly grant or reserve an Easement in writing in order to create an Express Easement. In other words, only the owner of the land that is going to be burdened by the Easement, the servient estate, may create an Express Easement.
An Express Easement is created in one of two ways, the first of which is by express grant. An Express Easement created by express grant is an Easement that the owner of the servient estate gives to the owner of the dominant estate. This type of Express Easements are usually bargained for and purchased. For example one neighbor may want to build a parking pad or basketball court off of their driveway, but may not have enough room on their lot to do so because their driveway already butts up against the property line. This individual may offer to pay her neighbor $500 for his consent to grant an Express Easement to her to build a parking pad and basketball court off of her driveway that extends over his land by 10 feet.
An Express Easement created by express reservation is an Easement that is created when the owner of one large piece of land splits the land into two or more pieces and places an Easement on one or more of those pieces at the time that the land is split apart. Easements created in this manner are often created in order to save some right for the original owner. For example, a farmer who owns 40 acres of land, the eastern side of which borders the best walleye lake in the state, may decide that he is ready to put the tractor out to pasture to rust, sell his land to a developer for a hundred million dollars, and spend the rest of his days fishing. The only problem is that the farmer’s home, which he spent 10 years building with his own two hands and has every intention of living in until his final days, is on the far west side of the 40 acre property and the only way to get to the lake is by driving over the eastern half of the property. The farmer may expressly reserve in himself an Easement, at the time when the property is split into several parts, allowing him to cross the newly established property to the east of his homestead in order to reach the lake.