The most common way eliminate an easement is through a termination agreement or a termination of the easement, wherein the benefited property owner and any lenders who have liens on that benefited property all sign an agreement which expressly provides that the identified easement is terminated and no longer in effect. Ideally, a termination agreement will also be signed by the property owner whose property is burden by the easement. It can, however, be simply a deed from the benefited property owner to the burdened property owner releasing the easement if there are no lenders who relied on the existence of the easement.
Termination by Time or Abandonment
Sometimes an easement will expire by its own terms. If the easement says it expires on a specific date, or only continues for a fixed period of time after execution or recording, after the identified period of time has passed, the easement can be ignored.
An easement can also be terminated by “merger.” This occurs when the owner of the property benefitted by the easement also becomes the owner of the property burdened by the easement. When this happens, the lesser interest (the easement) will merge into the greater (the fee title).
Finally, an easement can be “abandoned.” Abandonment is very challenging to prove under Minnesota law, as it requires more than mere non-use. It requires some affirmative action that implies or confirms that the benefitted party no longer wants or needs the easement.