Dominant Estate Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Dominant Estate, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Dominant Estate?

n. Term used in real estate law to refer to the piece of property that the rights are retained to despite splitting off the majority of the property to another party. For example: retaining the rights to a driveway or utilities. The servient estate is the property that was sold off which has an easement. These are also referred to as dominant tenement and servient tenement, respectively.

History and Meaning of Dominant Estate

The term "dominant estate" originated in real estate law and refers to a piece of property that retains certain rights and privileges despite splitting off a larger portion of the property to another party. The property that is sold off is known as the servient estate, which typically retains an easement.

The term is important for establishing property rights and easements, especially when it comes to shared driveways or utilities. By retaining the rights to a portion of the property, the owner of the dominant estate can ensure that they have access to necessary resources without infringing on the rights of the owner of the servient estate.

Examples of Dominant Estate

  1. A homeowner sells a portion of their land to a developer, but retains the right to access a nearby pond on the sold-off property.

  2. A commercial building owner grants an easement to a neighboring business for parking, but still retains the right to use a shared entrance from their property.

  3. A landowner splits a large parcel into two parts, but stipulates that they will retain the right to use a portion of the sold-off property for agricultural purposes.

Legal Terms Similar to Dominant Estate

  1. Servient estate: The property that is sold off and retains an easement.

  2. Easement: The legal right to use another person's property for a specific purpose.

  3. Encumbrance: Any claim or lien on a property that may impact its value or use.