When purchasing a property, it is common for issues and concepts to arise which you may not completely understand or be familiar with. A frequent example of such a concept which occurs is that of an ‘easement’. This begs the question – What is an easement on a property?
The purpose of this article is to provide a quick guide on the question of ‘What is an easement on a property?’
What is an Easement?
To begin, what is an easement on a property? – An easement or an easement on a property refers to an interest attached to land that gives another individual right’s to use part of that land for a specific purpose.
The land burdened or affected by the easement is referred to as a ‘servient estate’. The person or the land that benefits from the easement is the ‘dominant estate’. ‘Appurtenant’ is used to describe any area of land that helps from the easement. If there are only personal benefits from an easement, this is called ‘in gross’.
A defined area of land is affected by the easement registered on the property title. This easement is typically shown on the land plan with a brief description or sometimes with an accompanying document or instrument describing it more extensively.
Categories of Easements
To break down the question of ‘What is an easement on a property? It is beneficial to categorise them. Accordingly, easements can be broadly categorised as either positive or negative easements:
1. Positive Easements
Negative easements allow one party to enter the property of another party in a situation that would usually be considered a nuisance or trespassing. A typical example of this is the need to use your neighbour’s property in the form of their driveway to access your property.
2. Negative Easements
Negative easements prevent one party (servient tenement) from doing something which would be customarily considered acceptable in their enjoyment of their estate. Commonly, negative easements are concerning light or water. For instance, a negative easement may restrict an individual from building a structure in a specific way or changing the course of a river.
Types of Easements
When discussing ‘What is an easement on a property?’ – it is easy to further categorise them as either a right of way, right of support or right to water, sewer systems, power and other relevant utilities.
- An easement for services such as water, electricity or sewage. Such easements may be over or under the property or within the vicinity of the property. For instance, an overhead electricity transmission line or sewer pipes placed below the land.
- An easement for a right of carriageway or right of way: This allows the landlocked property owner to access their land by travelling over a portion of neighbouring land. An example of this would be in the situation of shared driveways where it would be impossible to access your home without using your neighbours land.
- A cross-easement: This form of easement provides reciprocal rights to use one another’s property in the same way—for instance, the mutual support of a structure such as a party wall between terrace homes.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Easements
Q) Can an easement be removed from the title? If the grantor and grantee mutually agree to it, then the easement can be removed from the title. A solicitor or registered conveyancer should document such an agreement. The court may also remove the easement if you can prove that it is not required anymore.
Q) Is the property owner compensated for an easement? Compensation may be possible for the right of way. However, the amount of payment is not mandatory and is open for negotiation amongst the parties.
Q) Does an easement affect the value of my property? This depends on the situation. In some cases, it can negatively affect the value of your property because of the restrictions it places on the landowner of the property. Alternatively, in some situations, it may be beneficial and increase the property value because of the added benefit of the right to use someone else’s land for a reason specified by the easement.
If you have any more questions about ‘What is an easement on a property?’ or easements in general. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our office. Our team of friendly and experienced family and property lawyers can assist you with any queries.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is important to note when discussing the question of ‘What is an easement on a property?’ to be aware of your rights concerning the property. This includes whether you have the right to an easement on a property, or whether you have to abide by an easement on your property.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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