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What is an Easement in Conveyancing?

An easement is a right that allows one landowner to use the land owned by another.

Easements can be permanent or temporary and can be created and extinguished in various ways. Understanding easements is also critical if you want to purchase a property with easements on it, as it may affect property value and your ability to implement your plans for your property.

Easement laws in the UK can be complicated, so in this article, we answer five of the most common questions about easements to help you make an informed decision.

  1. What Are the Most Common Applications of Easements?

One of the most common applications of easements is for access to land. This easement gives the holder the right to drive, walk, or otherwise access a particular piece of land owned by someone else. This easement is often used in rural areas where a piece of land can only be accessed by crossing through another privately-owned property.

Another common application of easements is for utility lines, such as electrical, water, or sewer lines. This easement allows the holder to place and maintain the utility lines on the land of another. This type of easement is often used when it is impossible to place the lines in the public right of way.

Easements can also be used for conservation purposes. This easement allows the holder to set up a conservation area on the land of another. This type of easement can protect areas from development, protect certain plants and animals, or keep certain areas of land from being used for certain activities.

Easements can also be used for recreational purposes. This easement allows the holder to use the land for recreational activities like hunting, fishing, camping, or hiking. This type of easement is less common but is often used in rural areas with few public parks or other recreational areas.

  1. What Are Negative Easements?

It's crucial to note that easements can also prevent you from doing certain activities on your property. This type of easement is known as a negative easement and restricts activities usually allowed on the property. For example, a property owner can use negative easements to prevent the construction of a new building or use certain types of machinery on the property.

Negative easements are an essential tool for protecting the rights of property owners. Property owners use this easement to prevent construction or other activities that may otherwise be allowed on a property.

Negative easements protect the rights of a neighbouring property owner or preserve the environment. For example, a negative easement may prevent a property owner from building a structure that would block a neighbour's view or access to sunlight.

Negative easements can also help protect public areas. For example, suppose a property owner wants to build a structure that would hurt a public park or recreational area. In that case, a negative easement can prevent this from happening. This easement is also used to protect environmentally sensitive areas from development or other activities.

Negative easements are essential for protecting all property owners' rights. As such, it is crucial to understand the implications of this type of easement before agreeing. Negative easements can be permanent or temporary and significantly impact a property owner's rights. Therefore, it is essential to consult a qualified attorney before entering into an agreement involving a negative easement.

  1. How Are Easements Created?

Easements arise when an owner of a piece of property grants permission for another person or entity to use the property in a certain way. This permission is usually in the form of a written agreement, known as a deed of easement.

The deed outlines both parties' rights and responsibilities, including the easement holder's rights and responsibilities. The agreement can be between two private parties or between a private party and a public entity. The agreement may specify the easement's duration, the activities that can be conducted on the property, and any restrictions on the use of the property.

To be legally binding, easements must be registered at the Land Registry. Until this registration is complete, the easement will only operate as an equitable right.

If the property that the easement applies to is not registered, it will only become effective when it is dated. To protect the property owner, they may lodge a caution against the first registration of the property so that the easement can be noted when the application is made to register the property.

Easements can also be implied or created by prescription when a party uses the property for a certain period without interruption. We often see this in cases of public rights of way, where a path has been used for an extended period, granting a public right to use it.

When land is leased out, it is impossible to establish a prescriptive easement. A prescriptive easement may arise only if the public uses the land before being rented.

  1. Why Should You Know about Easements When Buying Property?

It is essential to know about easements when buying a property because they can affect the property's value, use, and ownership. Easements can give a third party certain rights to use the property, such as a right of way or a right to access certain parts of the property.

This can limit the owner's ability to use the property in specific ways and affect the property's value. Understanding the rights and restrictions that come with an easement before buying a property is essential, as this can save you from unpleasant surprises.

Conveyancing solicitors can help deal with easements by providing advice on the legal implications of the easement. They can review the property's deed, explain the easement terms, and advise on potential restrictions or obligations that may be imposed. They can also help to negotiate any changes to the easement that may be required. They can assist in preparing any necessary documents to ensure that the easement is enforceable and can provide advice on any potential disputes that may arise.

  1. Is It a Good Idea to Purchase Land with Easements on It?

Whether it is a good idea to purchase land with easements depends on the land's purpose and the easements' terms. If the land is intended for residential use, then the easement may not have an overly significant effect on the use of the land. However, if the land is intended for commercial use, then the easement may have more of an impact on the use and potential value of the land.

It is essential to understand the terms of the easement and any potential restrictions or obligations it imposes to make an informed decision on whether it is a good idea to purchase the land.


Easements can be complex legal arrangements, so it is crucial to understand their implications before purchasing a property. A conveyancing solicitor can help explain the terms of an easement and advise how to manage it best. They can also help to negotiate any changes that may be necessary, as well as assist in the event of any disputes.

By taking the time to understand the implications of an easement before buying a property, you can ensure that you are aware of any restrictions or obligations that may be imposed.

Conveyancing Calculator is the most convenient way to calculate conveyancing prices and compare property solicitor costs online. We can also connect you to the best conveyancing solicitors to help you in the buying and selling process of your property. Try out our online calculator today to learn more.


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