Ever feel like your property isn’t entirely your own? You’re not alone. Many UK homeowners grapple with easements – those pesky legal rights that allow others to use a slice of your land. But what if you could reclaim your territory? This guide is your roadmap to freedom, shedding light on how to untangle from the grip of easements and regain full control of your property. Buckle up because it’s time to kick those easements to the curb!
What is an easement?
An easement is a legal right that allows one person to use another person’s land for a specific purpose. This could include a pathway across a property, access to utilities or a shared driveway. Easements are typically attached to the land, not the owner, meaning they continue even when the property changes hands.
Should I have an easement removed?
The decision to remove an easement should be made after careful consideration. Easements can sometimes be beneficial, providing necessary access to roads or utilities. However, they can also impose restrictions on how you use your property and potentially decrease its value.
Removing an easement might be a good idea if it has become inconvenient or detrimental. For example, an easement that allows public access through your property might impact your privacy or become a nuisance. It’s important to understand the specific terms and impact of the easement before deciding.
A prescriptive easement in the UK is one that has been acquired through long-term use. This occurs when a person has been using a part of your land without your permission for a period of time, typically 20 years. Unlike other easements, prescriptive ones can be more challenging to remove as they’re established through habitual use rather than a formal agreement.
How to remove an easement
Removing an easement can be a complex process and usually involves legal procedures. Here are some common methods if you want to remove easement.
- Abandonment. If the party benefiting from the easement stops using it for a significant period, it may be considered abandoned, and you can apply to have it removed.
- Merger. If you end up owning the land that benefits from the easement, the easement can be extinguished because a person can’t have an easement over their own property.
- End of Necessity. Some easements exist out of necessity, such as a right of way to a landlocked property. If the necessity ends – for instance, a new public road is built – the easement can potentially be removed.
- Demolition. The easement may end if the property benefiting from it is demolished.
- Recording Act. In some instances, you may be able to remove an easement by following specific processes under the Land Registration Act.
- Condemnation. If the government acquires the property through eminent domain, the easement typically ends.
- Adverse Possession. If you can prove you’ve been using the land exclusively for a long period (usually 10-12 years), you may be able to claim it and remove the easement.
- Release. The easement holder can voluntarily release their rights. This usually involves a written agreement and may require compensation.
Cost to remove an easement
The cost to remove an easement can vary widely depending on the method used and the complexity of the situation. Legal fees can be substantial, especially if the case is contested. You may also need to pay for surveys, document preparation and potentially compensation to the easement holder.
Selling a property with an easement
Selling a property with an easement can be more challenging than selling unencumbered property. Some buyers may be deterred by the restrictions an easement imposes. Being upfront and transparent about the existence of the easement can help avoid issues later in the property sale process. You may need to adjust your asking price to account for the easement, particularly if it significantly affects the use of the property.
There’s always the option of selling your home to Property Rescue. We buy all properties (including ones with easements). Fill in this 30-second form and get a free, no-obligation quote to see how much you would get for your home if you decided to sell directly to us.