What is an Easement?

When looking at plans in a contract or speaking with your conveyancer, you may notice on the plan or hear the word “easements” mentioned.  Let me explain what an easement on a property is.

The legal terminology of an easement is:

An interest in land that allows one person to make use of land owned by another person for a specific reason.  It is a positive benefit to the person who enjoys the easement and a limitation on the ownership of the person whose land is subject to the easement.

So what does that mean?  It’s probably easier to explain it by using an example.  The most common easement on properties is a sewer easement.  This easement sometimes exists along the rear boundary of suburban properties.  This easement is created to allow the local water board and developers to place sewer pipes for properties being built.

It is illegal for owners of property to build over an easement, unless they have approval from the authority who owns the easement. Using our example above, the local water board would need to provide the property owner with authorisation. If the owner does build over an easement without authorisation, the authority has the right to request the removal of the structure.

If you have any questions about any easements on your property, feel free to give us a call to discuss the matter.