Dominant Tenement Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Dominant Tenement?


History and Meaning of Dominant Tenement

A dominant tenement is a legal term used primarily in property law to refer to a property that has an easement over another property. An easement is a right to use the land of another for a specific purpose. Thus, a dominant tenement is a property that is benefiting from an easement.

In simplified terms, if an owner of a piece of land is allowed to use parts of their neighbors' land to access roads or utilities, the owner's land qualifies as the dominant tenement. In contrast, the land they cross to reach those roads or utilities is known as the servient tenement.

Examples of Dominant Tenement

  1. When a homeowner has an easement to use their neighbor's driveway to access a public street, their property is the dominant tenement. The neighbor's property that they cross to reach the street is the servient tenement.
  2. A landowner has a right of way over their neighbor's land to access their own property, which is landlocked. The owner's land is the dominant tenement, and the neighbor's land is the servient tenement.
  3. A property owner has an easement through their neighbor's land to access the beach. The owner's property is the dominant tenement, and the neighbor's property is the servient tenement.

Legal Terms Similar to Dominant Tenement

  1. Servient tenement: A property that is burdened by an easement in favor of another property
  2. Easement appurtenant: An easement that benefits a specific piece of land, such as a dominant tenement.
  3. Easement in gross: An easement that benefits someone, not necessarily a piece of land, such as an individual or company.