A few years ago, we posted a piece on easement essentials and types of appurtenant easements. Expanding on that theme, this post focuses on the concept of appurtenance and the inherent limitations it places on such use rights. As the prior post informed, appurtenant easements run with, and benefit, the land to which they attach; whereas in gross easements are personal use rights. Most easements are appurtenant rather than in gross because, as a matter of Massachusetts law, "[a]n easement is not presumed to be personal unless it cannot be construed fairly as appurtenant to some estate." Willets v. Langhaar, 212 Mass. 573, 575 (1912).
Landowners who purchase and combine multiple, adjoining lots can sometimes find themselves in a quandary if there is an existing easement that benefits only one of those lots. To illustrate, picture three adjacent lots: A, B, and C. When these lots were initially created, an easement was created on Lot A so that the owner of Lot B could access his lot. There was no similar easement created for Lot C at that time.