Negative Easement

Property Law. An easement which prohibts the owner of a servient estate from doing something otherwise lawful upon his or her estate, because it would affect the dominant estate.

Compare to Affirmative Easement.

Reference Desk

South Buffalo Stores v. W.T. Grant Co., 274 N.Y.S. 549 (1934).

“THE RIGHT SOUGHT TO BE ENFORCED HERE IS an easement, or, as it is sometimes called, an amenity, and consists in restraining the owner from doing that with, and upon, his property which, but for the grant or covenant, he might lawfully have done, and hence is called a negative easement, as distinguished from that class of easements which compels the owner to suffersomething to be done upon his property by another. Wash. on Easements, 5. Easements of all kinds may be created and exist in favor of any third person, irrespective of any privity of estate or community of interest between the parties; and, in this respect, there is no distinction between negative easements and those rights that are more generally known as easements as a way.’”

McLaughlin v. Neiger, 286 S.W.2d 380 (Mo. 1956).

“A covenant imposing valid restrictions upon lots within a given area creates an easement appurtenant thereto, and the owner of each lot has an easement in each and all of the lots affected by the restrictions . . . Such a covenant has been classified as a negative easement, ‘one the effect of which is not to authorize the doing of an act by the person entitled to the easement, but merely to preclude the owner of the land subject to the easement from the doing of an act which, if no easement existed, he would be entitled to do’.”

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