As most of us all know, easements come in all shapes and sizes, and varying categories. But what do they mean for your property? If your land is affected by an easement, you are generally restricted with what you can do. This often means you can be prevented from building in or over the land in the area. So, what should you do?
Firstly, it is important to determine the exact purpose of the easement. During land subdivision, private land might require an easement for a number of reasons. These may include:
• To protect and provide access to Council infrastructure such as sewer lines or stormwater drains;
• To provide vehicle access into properties that do not have a road frontage;
• To prevent buildings from being constructed over a certain height; and
• To protect a common wall between buildings which are on separate titles.
All legal easements must be displayed on your property title. To determine if an easement affects your property, you should conduct a title search.
Sometimes, however, the location of infrastructure can confuse the purpose of the easement and give a false impression of what the easement is protecting. For example, your property may contain a stormwater drainage easement as well as a sewer line that is located just inside the easement boundary. This gives a false impression that the easement is protecting the sewer line and so you might not think you need to consider other infrastructure protection measures. Complying with all legislative requirements to protect infrastructure is required even when an easement is on the site.
Lastly, if you are wishing to build or conduct activities in the easement that are against the easement rules, then you must obtain approval from the easement holder. In most cases, the easement holder will be your local Council.
Still confused about the do’s and don’ts of easements? Or do you have something to add? Please contact us via email or leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you.
To find out about the other issues that you should be considering at the design stage we suggest you read our story that could save you thousands Building Cost Saving Tips.