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Understanding Easements: A Comprehensive Guide for Property Owners

Updated: Sep 17, 2023


 
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What are Easements?


Easements are a common concept in property law, but many property owners don't fully understand what they are or how they work. Simply put, an easement is a legal right that allows someone else to use a portion of your property for a specific purpose. This can include things like allowing a neighbour to use a portion of your driveway to access their property, or allowing a utility company to install and maintain power lines on your land.



Types of Easements


There are several different types of easements, each with its own specific rules and requirements. The most common types of easements include:

  • Appurtenant Easements: This type of easement is attached to a specific piece of property and gives the owner of that property the right to use a portion of another property for a specific purpose. For example, a property owner might have an appurtenant easement that allows them to access a nearby lake.

  • Easements in Gross: This type of easement is not attached to a specific piece of property, but rather to a specific person or entity. For example, a utility company might have an easement in gross that allows them to install and maintain power lines on any property they choose.

  • Prescriptive Easements: This type of easement is created when someone uses a portion of your property for a specific purpose for a certain amount of time without your permission. Over time, the courts may recognise their right to continue using that portion of your property.



How Easements Work


Easements are created through a legal process that involves the property owner and the party seeking to use the easement. In most cases, the property owner will need to grant permission for the easement to be created. Once the easement is in place, the party using the easement will typically have specific rights and responsibilities related to the use of the property.



Your Rights as a Property Owner


As a property owner, it's important to understand your rights when it comes to easements. While you are generally required to allow others to use a portion of your property if they have a valid easement in place, you still have certain rights and protections. For example, you have the right to limit the scope of the easement and to ensure that the party using the easement does not cause damage to your property.


If you are unsure about what easements may affect a property, at Land Registry Online, we offer a Title Register service that allows you to easily obtain this information. Simply select the desired documents, complete your details, and you will receive your documents by email within a few hours.



Summary


Easements are an important concept for property owners to understand. By knowing what easements are, how they work, and your rights as a property owner, you can better protect your property and ensure that your rights are respected. If you have questions about easements or other property law issues, be sure to consult with a solicitor.



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