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What is an easement on a property?

On Behalf of | Jun 25, 2024 | Real Estate Law

If you are looking to buy property, you need to be clear about its legal status. That is why having someone do a thorough title search is crucial.

One of the issues a title search might throw up is an easement on the property. But what exactly is this and is it something you should worry about?

The right of access

An easement gives one party the legal right to pass over someone else’s property. One common example is where an electricity company needs to drive over a person’s land to service a pylon. You would probably have difficulty depriving them of that right because so many people depend on them doing so for their energy supply.

Another example is where a property owner has always allowed their neighbor to shortcut across their land when coming back from town to save them having to go all the way around to their main entrance on the other side.

Not all easements are equal 

Some easements, such as the energy company example, are likely to stay the same regardless of the house changing hands. Others might expire when the house is sold, when the person who was given that easement dies or after a set amount of time.

Check if the current seller has relied on any easements

Even if the property you want to buy does not have an easement on it, you might want to investigate if the current owner has an easement across someone else’s property. For example, would you still want to buy a house without a guarantee you could take that shortcut across the neighbor’s land when coming back from town?

With appropriate legal guidance, you can build a clearer picture of the true situation of a property you want to buy.