A covenant or easement may be affecting the property you purchase so it is important you understand what they are in any property transaction. They must be disclosed in any contract and create restrictions over the land and legal obligation.
What is an easement?
An easement is an interest attached to a parcel of land that permits another statutory authority or landowner the right to use a portion of the land that has been defined for a specific purpose. This means that if there is an easement on your property, this part of the land can be used by somebody else, even though they do not own it.
Easements are shown on a plan of the land and/or registered on the title of the property. Most common examples of an easement include:
What does this mean?
If your property is affected by an easement and your neighbours are using the easement in the prescribed manner, then you must not do anything to restrict this access. An easement will likely affect any proposed development for a property as you generally cannot build over or too close to the easement without authority from those benefiting from the easement. Building over an easement without approval may result in a demolition order.
What is a covenant?
A covenant is essentially a private agreement that imposes obligations on its owner that regulates the use of land. Covenants are generally created by developers when the land is subdivided and incorporated into the contract.
Covenants are generally created to impose certain construction ‘standards’ within the development. If you have plans of renovating an existing dwelling or building on vacant land, you will need to review any covenants carefully to ensure that your plans comply with the obligations imposed. Many purchasers enter a contract without fully understanding the effect of an easement or covenant. Here at Carter O’Neill Legal, we have extensive knowledge and experience in property law and will explain these matters to you in plain language, so you are able to make a fully informed decision.