Runs With the Land Law and Legal Definition

Runs with the land is a phrase used to describe a covenant or restriction that automatically transfers with the property when the property is transferred. The test for determining whether the promise runs with the land is whether it was intended to do so by its creators. The term is often used in connection with the granting of an easement.

Easements in gross or personal easements are personal rights given to individuals or specific groups. Once the easement owner dies, the easement terminates. Appurtenant easements are more permanent and are given to both the property and its owner. If the property owner with an easement sells the property, the new buyer gains the easement rights that belong with the property. To be a legal appurtenant easement, the properties involved must be adjacent to each other and must be owned by separate entities.

The characterization of an easement will affect the rights to transfer the easement to another. Easements appurtenant are adjacent to the servient estate (the underlying land). If the dominant estate (the property which enjoys the benefit of an easement over the servient estate) is sold or otherwise transferred to another, the easement over the servient land is transferred with it.

When the title is transferred, the easement appurtenant typically remains with the property. This type of easement runs with the land; which means that if the property is bought or sold, it is bought or sold with the easement in place. The easement essentially becomes part of the legal description.