What Is a Servient Tenement?

A servient tenement refers to a piece of land that an owner has sublet to another user for a given purpose. Servient tenement is also referred to as an easement, which is a contract between the person intending to use the land and the servient estate, the owner of the land. The former is also called the dominant estate. The user has non-possessor rights over the land.

Servient tenement allows the user of the land, the dominant estate, to use it for the intended purpose without actually possessing it. The elements and practices of servient tenement differ from one jurisdiction to another, especially on the rights of the holder of an easement, according to National Paralegal College. There are four main types of easements enforced in many legal jurisdictions. These are right-of-way, also known as easements of way, easements of support, easements of “light and air” and rights pertaining to artificial waterways. In more recent years, types of easements have emerged. These types of servient tenements are affirmative and negative easements. While affirmative easements give the right to use another’s property for a given purpose, a negative easement prevents another person from undertaking a lawful activity on a person’s property.