Need help with an easement? Get the experts on your side.
Easements, also known as rights of way, can have a significant bearing on your property purchase.
If you are a buyer, we can advise whether an easement is attached to a property, and what this means for you. It is important to uncover the presence or absence of an easement now, or you may face difficulties in the future.
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What is an easement?
An easement gives someone the right to access or use another person’s property, be it land or a waterway. Easements are often referred to as rights of way.
Easements are used for a particular purpose. For example, it can give someone the right to –
- Access their property via another person’s driveway
- Access their property via another person’s garden or lane
- Use a septic tank located on neighbouring land
- Have drains, cables and pipes run through neighbouring land
How to create an easement
There are various ways to create an easement. Sometimes they are granted by deed. These are known as express easements. Other times they are made when part of a property is sold, typically for development.
These are known as implied easements. Alternatively, if the arrangement has been in place for 20 years or more, there may be a legal right to continue in the same way. These are known as prescription easements.
Why are easements important when buying property?
If you are a buyer, you need to know whether the property you are intending to purchase has an easement attached to it. Depending on the situation, the presence or absence of an easement could be a problem.
Not all easements are transferred when a property is sold. If not, your neighbour could block your access in the future, or prevent your use of their land. This could affect the way in which you reach the property. It could also impact things such as your drainage and the supply of your utilities.
Or, it might be that the seller has been allowing a neighbour to use or access the property you are hoping to buy. You might not feel comfortable with this arrangement. Yet if there is an easement, you have little choice but to honour the agreement.
Property is a big investment and you need to get it right. You do not want to move in, only to face a dispute with your new neighbour within the first month. That is why a thorough inspection of the deeds, and the necessary pre-contract enquiries, must be conducted.
Easements can have serious implications for a buyer. At Harrisons Solicitors, we understand this, and we want to help you avoid any potential issues. That is why we always investigate the title deeds, organise comprehensive searches, and request disclosure from the seller during pre-contract enquiries.
If we do uncover anything of concern, we can report back to you and discuss your options going forward. These vary according to the situation, but often a resolution is possible. For example, in the absence of an easement, your mortgage lender may require that you get indemnity insurance to protect your access rights.
However, there are times when the presence or absence of an easement is enough to deter you from buying a property. If so, you will be grateful that you discovered the issue before going through with the transaction.
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