Property Owner Cannot Create Easement Over Own Land


An easement is defined as a “nonpossessory interest in the land of another that gives its owner the right to use the land of another or to prevent the property owner from using his land.” (Beyer v. Tahoe Sands Resort (3d Dist. 2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 1458, 1472.) The land that the easement is attached to is referred to as the dominant tenement, while the land burdened by the easement is called the servient tenement. (Ibid.) Further, easements require “a unity of title, in that title and ownership of both tenements must be coextensive and equal in validity, quality, right to possession, and all other characteristics.” (Beyer, supra, 129 Cal.App.4th at 1473.)

Accordingly, under what is referred to as the merger doctrine, easements are extinguished when the person entitled to the easement becomes the owner of the underlying/burdened land (i.e. when title merges to one individual). (See Civ. Code § 811.) However, the easement is not extinguished “if the person has unequal title or rights in the servient and dominant tenements.” (Beyer, supra, 129 Cal.App.4th at 1474.) It is crucial to note that these same principles also apply to the creation of easements.

It necessarily follows that a person cannot have “an easement in land which he himself owns.” (Wilson v. Pacific Elect. Ry. Co. (1917) 176 Cal. 248, 254; see also Popvich v. O’Neal (1963) 219 Cal.App. 2d 553, 557-558; Civ. Code § 805.) Specifically, California Civil Code § 805 states that a servitude (i.e. an easement) cannot be held by the person who owns the servient tenement. It is clear that the entire purpose of this statute is to avoid nonsensical easements—easements that are undoubtedly unnecessary because the owner already owns the land subject to the easement. (Beyer, supra, 129 Cal.App.4th at 1475.)

If you believe that you may have a civil claim for damages regarding another’s invalid easement, feel free to contact Schorr Law, APC by phone at  310-954-1877, by email at or by filling out the contact form on this page.

Click on the categories below to see other related articles.

Share Button
Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Easement

Zachary D. Schorr’s Expert Appearance on the Dr. Phil Show

Zachary D. Schorr’s Expert Appearance on ABC’s Nightline

Contact Schorr Law

Super Lawyers

Zachary Schorr Superlawyers

Zachary D. Schorr has been named to the Southern California Super Lawyers (Rising Stars) list for attorneys in Real Estate for 5 straight years - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state receive this honor. In 2016 he was also included as one of the top 100 lawyers in Southern California in this category. The selection for this respected list is made by the research team at Super Lawyers.

Need Representation?

If you are currently involved in a real estate dispute, either commercial real estate or residential, and are looking for a Real Estate Attorney in Los Angeles with a cost-effective, results oriented approach designed to meet your case's specific needs, contact the attorneys at Schorr Law. Our real estate firm has the specific knowledge and experience necessary to get you the best possible results.

AVVO 10.0

Zachary Schorr Avvo Rating

Avvo Clients’ Choice Award Recipient

Zachary Schorr Avvo Client's Choice Award