Easements are rights that are granted over land belonging to someone else. Anyone that is buying a property should always check the registered title and inspect the property to determine if there is an easement in relation to the land.
An easement is a right that benefits a piece of land (the dominant land) that is enjoyed over another piece of land owned by someone else (servient land). Easements are for a variety of purposes, such as:
Easements are usually positive, allowing the owner of the dominant land a right to do something. There are rare occasions where they are negative and prevent the owner of the servient land from doing something on its own land that affects the dominant owner (such as affecting the dominant owner’s right to light or to park).
Easements are permanent though can be ended where:
There are four essential characteristics of an easement:
The necessary requirements for an easement to be capable of being granted by deed include:
Easements can be created:
Express easements are created by deeds. Most commonly the easement is granted in a transfer of legal estate or the grant of a lease if the new owner will enjoy a right over the land retained by the transferor or landlord. Generally, the easement has to be registered at the Land Registry and that results in any future buyer of the land that is affected by an easement will be made aware that there is a right over the land he is considering purchasing.
Other methods of creating a legal easement include:
A legal easement binds all future purchasers, regardless of whether they had knowledge about it. Where an easement is not noted on the title of the servient land then it can only take effect as an equitable easement. Equitable easements only bind a purchaser that has knowledge
An implied easement will be based on the relevant facts, for example how the land has been used over a period of years. To determine whether there is an implied easement, various factors will be considered, such as the common intention of the parties and if the right is a necessity. Since this type of easement is not clearly set out in a legal document it can result in the easement being either much wider or more restrictive than intended.
There are various remedies available for the dominant landowner if an easement is interfered with:
The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.