Easements, what are they and what do they mean for your property?

An easement is a right enjoyed by a landowner over another person’s land which binds successors in title.

Usually speaking, most easements are positive, which means they give you the right to do something, examples of easements include a right of way, a right to light and a right for drainage or other service media to pass over or under land. However, there can be negative easements preventing you from doing something.

There are different ways in which easements can be formed:

  1. Express easements: some easements are expressed in documents, for example in deeds.
  2. Implied easements: An easement will only be implied if it is necessary to imply it, the parties had a common intention at the time of the sale of the land that there would be an easement, by operation of section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925 or by the rules set out in the long standing case of Wheeldon v Burrows (1879) 12 Ch D 31. Examples of implied easements include ‘necessity’ (for example, if the land would be landlocked without access over someone else’s land).
  3. Easement by prescription: this arises where a right has been exercised over another piece of land for a long period of time without the land owners permission.

It is not always harmful to have an easement over your property, but it certainly will depend on the type of easement and, in particular in relation to an express easement, the wording of that easement. Some easements could impact the value of your property or put off potential purchasers.  You should certainly look at whether there are any easements which might restrict potential development, if you intend to develop the land.

It could be possible to bring an easement to an end and there are various ways to do this, which could include an express release by Deed agreed between the land owners, or by way of implied release. Implied release however can be very difficult to prove; you must be able to show significant non-use of the easement.

To discuss this, or any other property disputes related matter, please contact Lucy directly on 01483 357169, email info@hartbrown.co.uk or start a live chat today.

*This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

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Lucy Penfold

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate. Lucy...

Lucy-Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution

Senior Solicitor, Dispute Resolution

Lucy Penfold

Lucy is a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution team here at Hart Brown and specialises in property litigation and contentious trusts and probate.

Lucy completed her law degree at Kingston University before completing the Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Guildford (now the University of Law). Lucy qualified in 2012 and brings with her general commercial litigation experience from Central London and Surrey law firms.

A member of the Property Litigation Association, Lucy deals with all areas of property litigation including varied landlord and tenant disputes, evictions, neighbour disputes, boundary disputes, commercial property disputes, property disrepairs and dilapidations.

Lucy also deals with various contentious probate matters, including interpreting the terms of wills, brining or defending claims to contest wills or trusts, and executor removal disputes.

Lucy’s general commercial litigation experience allows her to have a pragmatic and commercial approach to any legal issue faced.