Alira Muchiri: What do you need to know about easements when you’re buying a property? Hi, I’m Alira Muchiri. I’m a property lawyer here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.
An easement is a right to cross over or otherwise use part of somebody else’s land. Easements might come up in the context of buying a property as the property you’re buying might be burdened by or benefited by an easement.
There are many different types of easements. A common example is a right of carriageway or right of access. This is where you have the legal right to pass over your neighbour’s land in order to access your property. A common example might be where you live on a battleaxe block and you need to pass over the front property in order to access your property at the back.
Another common example is an easement for services. This might be where your power lines or electricity lines pass through your neighbour’s property in order to connect to your property. You as the owner of the benefited land have the legal right to keep your services on that land and your neighbour cannot do anything to interfere with those services.
Another common easement is an easement for repair and maintenance. This might be where the structures on your land such as your house or garage are so close to the boundary to your neighbour’s property that you need to go onto your neighbour’s property in order to carry out repairs to your property such as painting works.
Another type of easement is an easement to drain water which is usually for stormwater. This would be where the drainage for your property goes through your neighbour’s property to connect to the stormwater system. If you’re buying a townhouse or a terrace you might come across a cross easement for a party wall. A party wall is where you and your neighbour both have rights and responsibilities to ensure that that common wall is maintained in a structurally sound condition.
If you’re purchasing a property that is either burdened by or benefited by an easement, you might be wondering whose responsibility is it to maintain the easement. The terms of the easement will either be as set out in your purchase contract or will be as provided for in the conveyancing act. In the context of purchasing a property, your lawyer should ensure that you are well aware of any easements that burden or benefit the land you’re buying, and what the terms of that easement are.
If you’re looking to purchase a property that’s affected by an easement, or if you require assistance with registering an easement or an issue with an easement, please feel free to contact us here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers.