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May 10, 2024

10 May-2024 Difference between License, Lease and Easement: Definitions of the Terms :

License:  As per section 52 of the Indian Easement Act, 1882

“Where one person grants to another, or to a definite number of other persons, a right to do, or continue to do, in or upon the immovable property of the grantor, something which would, in the absence of such right, be unlawful, and such right does not amount to an easement or an interest in the property, the right is called a license.”

Lease: As per section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882

“A lease of immoveable property is a transfer of a right to enjoy such property, made for a certain time, express or implied, or in perpetuity, in consideration of a price paid or promised, or of money, a share of crops, service or any other thing of value, to be rendered periodically or on specified occasions to the transferor by the transferee, who accepts the transfer on such terms. Lessor, lessee, premium and rent defined.—The transferor is called the lessor, the transferee is called the lessee, the price is called the premium, and the money, share, service or other thing to be so rendered is called the rent.”

Easement: As per section 4 of the Indian Easement Act, 1882

“Easement” defined. -An easement is a right which the owner or occupier of certain land possesses, as such, for the beneficial enjoyment of that land, to do and continue to do something, or to prevent and continue to prevent something being done, in or upon, or in respect of, certain other land not his own. Dominant and servient heritages and owners. The land for the beneficial enjoyment of which the right exists is called the dominant heritage, and the owner or occupier thereof the dominant owner; the land on which the liability is imposed is called the servient heritage, and the owner or occupier thereof the servient owner.”

Difference between License, Lease, and Easement :


Section 52 of the Act, interpreted as – It can be said that when a person is given the right to use a particular property for certain use, while the possession and control of the property are with the owner, the person will be considered as the licensee. A license can be granted to only a definite number of people, as a license is a personal right given to the licensee.

It is nothing but a contract in which a property owner lets an individual or an entity (like a company, government, or a school) use real property for a specific purpose. Usually, licenses are personal to the licensee (the individual or entity) and if the licensee attempts to transfer it, licenses usually terminate. They are typically revocable and may be exclusive or non-exclusive.

Essentials of License are as follows :

1.A license does not create an interest in the property. It acts only as permission which created a personal right with regards to the property.

2.A license authorises certain acts on the property which would be otherwise unlawful.

3.A license cannot be assigned or transferred to some third party.


Section 105 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 states that a lease which states that it is a transfer of immovable property for a particular time period for a consideration of which the transferee has accepted the terms surrounding the agreement.

It is a contract, where a landlord agrees to give a tenant the exclusive right to inhabit or occupy real property, such as a house, apartment or office. A lease usually has a specific term and, like all contracts, the tenant is going to give the landlord some sort of consideration – money, horses, etc.

One of the modes of transferring property for a particular period of time is Lease. Lease is a transfer of an interest in the property for a stipulated period of time without transferring the ownership of that property. In a lease, right of possession is transferred instead of the right of ownership.

Transferor here is called the lessor and the transferee i.e. the one enjoying the property for a period is called lessee.

Essentials of Lease are as follows:

1.The parties in a lease agreement should be competent to enter into a contract. Lesser should be entitled to a property and have absolute rights  over that property.

2.Ownership rights are not transferred in a lease, only the possession of the property is transferred.

3.Consideration for a lease can be taken in the form of a rent or premium.

4.Lessee, who is to get the interest in the property after lease, has to accept the lease agreement along with the time period and terms & conditions imposed on the transfer.

  1. Lease always takes place for a particular time period which is to be specified in the lease agreement. It can be relaxed at the option of the lessor.


When a person is having a right over the land of another for the enjoyment of his own property that right over the property of another is called ‘Easement’.

Essentials of Easement are as follows:

1.For Easement, there is necessity of two properties that is Dominant and Servient heritage. Dominant heritage means, that the land for whose  beneficial enjoyment rights are exercised. Servient heritage means that land on which liabilities are imposed. Dominant and Servient heritage must be separate.

2.Right over immovable property

3.Two separate properties

4.Easement must be attached with the property.

5.Easements are ordinarily available against the entire world, hence they are considered as right in rem.

6.The easement must be for the beneficial use of the property.

7.It is necessary that dominant and servient heritage must be separate.


1.A, as the owner of a certain house, has the right to go on his neighbour B’s land, and to take water for the purposes of his household, out of a spring therein. This is an easement.

2.A dedicates to the public the right to occupy the surface of certain land for the purpose of passing and re-passing. This right is not an easement.


If the right to use the property will belong solely and exclusively to the user, even against the property owner, you have a landlord/tenant arrangement and a Lease is proper. If the use or occupancy of the property will be shared by more than one person or entity, then a License or an Easement is proper. If the use is long term, like a sewer, cable, flower garden or access road, an Easement is the way to go.

In short we can explain it:

Property Right:

  • Lease:Grants the most exclusive right. A lease creates a landlord-tenant relationship, giving the lessee (tenant) exclusive possession of the property for a defined period.
  • Easement:Grants a specific right to use another’s property for a particular purpose. It’s an interest in the land itself.
  • License:Grants the least right. It’s a mere permission to use the property in a specific way, revocable at any time by the owner. It’s not a property right.


  • Lease:Typically for a set period, short-term or long-term.
  • Easement:Can be permanent or for a specific period.
  • License:Usually temporary or short-term.


  • Lease:Exclusive possession for the lessee.
  • Easement:Non-exclusive by default, meaning others can also use the property unless specified otherwise in the easement agreement.
  • License:Non-exclusive by default.


  • Lease:Leases are generally transferable unless restricted by the lease agreement.
  • Easement:Appurtenant easements (benefitting a specific property) transfer with the ownership of that property. Easements in gross (personal to the holder) might be transferable depending on the agreement.
  • License:Not transferable.

Here’s an analogy to help understand the difference:

  • Thinking of property as a pie:
    • A lease gives you the whole pie (exclusive possession).
    • An easement gives you a slice of pie for a specific purpose (right to use a portion).
    • A license gives you permission to take a bite of the pie, but the owner can revoke that permission anytime (temporary right to use).

Choosing the right option depends on the situation:

  • Lease:Ideal for giving someone complete control over a property for a set time (e.g., renting an apartment).
  • Easement:Suitable for granting ongoing use rights for specific purposes (e.g., right of way across a neighbor’s property to access a public road).
  • License:Useful for temporary or short-term permission to use property (e.g., allowing a guest to park on your driveway for a party).


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