Easement for “Ingress and Egress” Not Limited to Residential Use

In Kovacs v Lesar, an unpublished Michigan Court of Appeals opinion, an easement for “ingress, egress, and utilities” was established by a consent judgment.  Both properties were used as residences.  The owner of the dominant tenement subsequently opened a gun shop in his home, resulting in approximately 4-5 customers a day using the easement.  The owner of the servient tenement sued, claiming that the easement was limited to residential purposes, and that the additional cars overburdened the easement.  The trial court dismissed the complaint and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

The words “ingress and egress” are well-established in Michigan law and confer a right of passage.  Without additional limiting language, the unambiguous grant would include all types of traffic across the easement.

With respect to the overburdening, the trial court found that an additional 4-5 cars a day did not overburden the easement.  The Court of Appeal agreed, but held that nothing in the decision prohibited the servient tenement from suing again should the the easement become impermissibly overburdened in the future.

© Steve Sowell 2017