15 May What is an Easement?
An easement is a section of land registered on your property title, which gives someone the right to use the land for a specific purpose even though they are not the land owner. An example is a shared driveway. There are also certain statutory easements which are not registered on your title, such as power or telephone lines, or drainage easements.
Essentially easements allow for a part of the land to be shared for the purposes described in the easement. They come in various forms including – access easements and easement for services (like drainage, stormwater, telephone lines).
If you wish to build over a statutory easement, you will need to get consent from your local council. For other easements, you will need to get consent from whoever the easement is vested in.
In legal speak, the land “burdened” by the easement is the “servient” tenement. The land enjoying the benefit of the easement is the “dominant” tenement.
In Queensland, easements are created by agreement between the land owners and registering the easement at the Department of Natural Resources and Water. The document will contain terms and conditions that that the owners must comply with including conduct and maintenance and repair provisions.
When selling a property, it is important that you disclose any easements on the contract documents. If in the process of buying a property, make sure you do a title search before the exchange of contracts so you can be sure that the seller has properly disclosed any easements that may be on the title.
The important thing about easements is to be aware of them, and know the terms of any which affect your property, so contact your lawyer to be sure.