Easements on Your Property – What to Do about Them?

Easements are specific rights granted over a property. The idea of easements is to create provisions on land titles for a range of public works like drainage, electricity supplies, and water supplies. Easement rights are typically owned by public authorities to allow access, maintenance and construction work for these services.

Easements on Your Property - Queensland

Please note: Rights of way, Travelling Stock Routes, road reserves and other encumbrances on title are not easements. They may look like easements, but they confer very different rights.

 

Critical Points You Need to Know about Easements

  • Easements on a title prohibit construction on the specified land. Land use should also not interfere with exercising the rights conferred by the easement.
  • Owning authorities may enter easements at any time to conduct work, survey, or carry out any services required. The landowner’s permission for entry is not required. Entry on to easements must not be obstructed.
  • Interfering with or obstructing work on easements may be an offence. Councils and other authorities have the legal right to conduct works and interference may result in legal charges.
  • Legal liability for easements is vested in the owning authority. That general legal status does not relieve landowners of any civil or statutory liabilities for their own actions or legal injuries to other parties.

 

Managing Easements on Your Property

Many easements are unobtrusive and won’t create physical obstacles on your property. Some easements, however, like drainage, may involve large drains, canals, and stormwater management facilities.

Easements may also include some restrictive title issues. Large easements or multiple easements may encumber your property with a range of title constraints which limit building and other activities.

It’s important to understand that current functional easements generally cannot and will not be removed from title. These operational easements are necessary to provide legal rights and physical access for the owning authorities. Removal is not a viable option.

 

What Are the Landowner’s Options?

Obsolete easements, left over on title from the past but no longer current, may be easy to remove. Councils and other authorities can assist with managing title amendments. This process is quite straightforward.

Some easements, like corner easements on property boundaries, can be excised from titles relatively easily. You can simply request the owning authority to formally acquire the easement, which removes it from your title.

Similarly, you can request large easements to be acquired. This type of major title alteration, however, may result in an actual separation of property, effectively subdividing blocks and creating possible access issues. If viable, a separate title may need to be created for the excised part of your property.

 

Please note: Councils and owning authorities are not obliged to agree to acquisition unless the easement has been formally scheduled for acquisition. They may voluntarily agree, in some cases.

The best way for landowners to approach title and legal issues is with expert guidance. Title experts can provide invaluable advice and help you explore your title remediation options.

Need Experts for Easement Problems in Queensland?

Arnold Development Consultants can assist with the examination of easements and title issues in Queensland. Contact us online or ring your closest Arnold Development Consultants office to speak directly to one of our consultants about your issues.