Real Estate Terms

Appurtenant Definition

Appurtenance? Appurtenant? What does it all mean? For starters, appurtenant is a legal term to describe an object attached to something. Appurtenance is an item itself once it becomes part of the property. These two terms come into play in real estate law and can be a bit of a tongue-twister; luckily, we have the answers!

What Is Appurtenant?

Definition: Appurtenant is an adjective, meaning it is attached to something.  If something is appurtenant, it belongs to something else, either attached to or by law. Typically anything that has been installed, or has become part of a property, is considered to be appurtenant.

Example: A great example of something described as appurtenant is the relationship between a barn and a house or an easement to some land. Typically, these things are attached to the property by law and are described as appurtenant.

What Is An Appurtenance?

Definition: Appurtenance is a noun; describing an item that is attached to something. In real estate, after something is installed onto a property, it can be called an appurtenance. Meaning it is passed on to a new owner if the property is sold.

An appurtenance can be something tangible like a tree, barn, water tank, or something abstract such as an easement.

Example: A fantastic example is if a homeowner installs a new water tank onto his property. If he sells the house, the water tank typically will stay with the property and go to the new homeowner. The water tank itself is called an appurtenance.

What Is the Difference Between Appurtenant and Appurtenance?

These two terms are usually applicable to property rights or items passed along with the sale of properties. The difference is appurtenant is an adjective to describe an attached object, while appurtenance is the item once it becomes attached to the land. So one is the noun, and the other is the adjective to describe it.

Check out some textbook examples:

  • Sally is selling her property and advertises her home: “Comes with many appurtenances.” These objects are a new washer, a new dryer, and an in-ground pool.
  • Sigfrid asked his real estate agent, “Is that shed appurtenant?” The real estate agent quickly responded, “Yep, it comes with the property!”

What is an Appurtenant Easement?

An easement is a right held by one person to use the land of another for a specific purpose.  An appurtenant easement is a type of easement that “runs with the land” as opposed to without, meaning if the property is sold, the easement remains with the land.

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