Easements: Your Rights Over Someone Else’s Land

An easement is a right to use or access someone else’s property. A typical easement will give you a private right of way across your neighbour’s land to get to a public road. Another example is the right to use a septic tank located on your neighbour’s land.

Similarly, neighbours in semi-detached or terraced properties will often have rights to run pipes, drains and cables across each other’s land, to supply gas, water, electricity, etc. Easements like these will probably be set out in the title deeds of your property.

How To Create An Easement

Easements are usually created when property is sold. They are usually granted by the seller to the buyer, or reserved by the seller for themselves. For example, if you sell some land to a buyer you grant the right to the buyer to run a gas pipe across your land, and also retain the right of drainage over the buyer’s land. A formal deed is required, and the easement should be registered at the Land Registry.

You can also acquire an easement by ‘prescription’. If you have used other property or land continuously and openly for a certain number of years, for instance walking across it, it is possible to acquire the legal right to do so. That right can then be registered at the Land Registry and passed on when you sell your own land. The period of use must be at least 20 years.

Can An Easement Come To An End?

It is possible for an easement to be terminated. Some easements which have been granted have a formal end date. An easement will automatically be extinguished if the same person comes to own both the land which has the benefit of the easement and the land which has the burden. For instance, if you sell land and grant an easement over your own land, but then later buy back the same land, the easement will terminate. Also, an easement can come to an end where it has not been used for a certain number of years.

It is important to take advice about a particular set of circumstances. Call us today to discuss your situation and how we can help.

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