Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 42 – Easement vs Profit à prendre

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Easement vs Profit à prendre



Today we look at two interesting concepts in Land Law, namely an easement (servitù) and a profit à prendre (a volte servitù, o licenza, o usi civici).

Easements may arise (verificarsi) when you want to use another person’s land for a specific purpose, e.g., as a right of way for people, for telephone lines, gas pipelines, sewers (fognature), or for storage (stoccaggio).

The land that is burdened (gravato) by an easement is known as the servient tenement, while the land that is benefited is the dominant tenement. Easements run with (seguono) the land even if the owner changes.

Negative easements also exist and they encumber (obbligano) the servient tenement not to restrict the dominant tenement’s right to light (which means you cannot build on your property in such a way that you block another person’s right to light), or restrict the right to receive water from a stream, or restrict the right to a structural support, for example.

Profits à prendre, or just simply “profits”, on the other hand, give you the right to take something away from the land of another. A profit à prendre gives you the right to take away things like peat (torba), timber (legname), grass for the grazing (pascolare) of animals, or wildlife (fauna selvatica) from hunting or fishing.

A profit a prendre may be appurtenant or in gross.

The benefit of a profit a prendre appurtenant is a right which is attached to a particular piece of land and runs with the land. A profit a prendre appurtenant cannot be registered with its own title and is registered with the dominant tenement.

A profit a prendre in gross might not be attached to any particular piece of land and may be disposed of (ceduti) independently from any land. A profit a prendre in gross may be registered with its own independent title or against the servient tenement.

Lastly, some profits a prendre in gross are “rights of common”. “Common land” is land that may be enjoyed by one or more persons to take or use a piece of land, or produce of land, which is owned by someone else. These rights are referred to as ‘rights of common’. It is illegal to build a fence (recinzione) which impedes access to land subject to rights of common.

Thank you very much and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your Legal English!

Read more about Easement and Profit à prendre here.: “Making land work: Easements, Covenants and Profits à prendre” (.PDF).

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