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Leases, Licenses & Easements

Understanding the differences between a lease of real property, a license and an easement can help determine which one to use in a specific situation.


A lease is an agreement in which the landlord agrees to give the tenant the exclusive right to occupy real property, usually for a specific term and, in exchange, the tenant agrees to give the landlord some sort of consideration. A lease transfers to the tenant a leasehold interest in the real property and, unless otherwise provided in the lease, a lease is transferable and irrevocable.


  1. Agreement between 2 parties

  2. Conveys an interest in real property

  3. Transferable

  4. Exclusive right


A license gives the permission of the owner to an individual or an entity to use real property for a specific purpose. Unlike a lease, it does not transfer an interest in the real property. It is personal to the licensee and any attempt to transfer the license terminates it. It is (usually) revocable and can be either exclusive or non- exclusive.

A facility use agreement (FUA) is a short form license for very limited use of a facility.


  1. Revocable

  2. Exclusive right - optional


An easement, like a license, gives the permission of the owner to use or prevent the use of the owner’s real property. However, unlike a license, it transfers to the easement holder an interest in the real property that encumbers the record title. Easements are classified as either appurtenant (benefiting and transferable with a specific piece of real property) or in gross (personal to the grantee). An easement can be transferred. Unless otherwise specified, an easement is presumed to be permanent and non-exclusive. 


  1. Conveys an interest in real property

  2. Transferable

  3. Exclusive right - optional

With our office in Davis,  we represent clients in Yolo County, Solano County, Sacramento County, and statewide throughout California. For more information, call our office today at (530) 231-4949.