What You Should Know About Easements When Buying or Selling a Freehold Property

What You Should Know About Easements When Buying or Selling a Freehold Property?

An easement has been defined as a right that one entity has over the land of another. This can be the right to do something on the other's land or the right to prevent the land owner from using land in a certain way. This might be a mundane topic, but one that is important to highlight if you are entering the freehold real estate market.

Minor easements are common and make up less than five to seven percent of a property usually found on the front, side or rear of a property. It's sometimes known as a maintenance easement. They may include spaces made accessible to utility companies to complete repairs to their equipment. If the seller does not have an existing survey before closing, this is one of the items that your lawyer will check against the land registry to ensure there is no major easement on the property your are purchasing. This could include more complex concepts such as heritage easements, conservation easements, air rights, construction easements. If you are buying a property to rebuild or put up an extension, it will be prudent to check on easements before moving forward with the purchase to see if you are allowed to encroach into an easement.

Buyers: Some purchasers may plan to dig, make hard landscaping or erect garages/sheds on the property after possession. Always ask if there are any easements on the property and for their exact location. No permanent structure is allowed to be built at the easement. Even minor easements may interfere with your ability to use your land as you have planned. Be informed of all title defects on your property. Sellers: Always remember to disclose all easements and title defects in the agreement of purchase and sale and listing agreement. Check the legal description of your deed and read the reporting letter you received from your lawyer when you bought the property. Also check for title defects in a recent survey.

In Toronto, the Seller is not obligated to provide a survey upon the sale of the property. An alternative way to find out whether there is an easement or right-of-way on a property is to check the deed of ownership, which will often be desrcibed. Any members of the public can visit the Land Registry Office to locate and view these documents with a small fee.

This link from Protect Your Boundaries explains the concept of how easements affect property boundary rights.

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