The legal definition of an easement is “the right to cross or otherwise use a portion of someone else’s land.” This means that certain people or services are able to access a part of your land at any given time. There are also certain restrictions put in place where you cannot build on or prevent access to that portion of land.
Why are easements necessary?
Easements allow the right of clear access on a permanent basis to specific authorities or people. Owning authorities are able to enter easements at any time to conduct any necessary work, survey, or to carry out any required services. Although it is technically private property, specific authorities or people do not need the landowner’s permission for entry.
Some examples of common easements are:
· Right of way for access (shared driveway);
· Easements of support (pertaining to excavations) – drainage pipelines, or natural gas lines; and
· Service easements – electricity, gas, water, or telephone lines.
How do I know if there is an easement on my land?
Generally, they should all be registered on the Land Titles Register. A title search on your property should identify if there is an easement and whether it burdens or benefits the land. You are also entitled to a survey of the property to identify any issues that may not be noted; however, everything should be disclosed on the Land Title.
Before entering into a sale contract, it is best to make sure the contract is subject to satisfactory searches, just in case!