Q. I am in the process of buying a house but am slightly alarmed as I have just had a letter from my solicitor advising me that there is an easement over the property. He has asked me to make an appointment to see him to discuss, I have no idea what this is, can you advise?
A. It is possible while owning a property, that others may have certain rights over it. These are called ‘interests’. Legal interests are listed in the Law of Property Act 1925 and one of these ‘interests’ is an easement. An easement is a right over land. The person who has the benefit of the easement may have the right to use the land of another, or restrict the use of the land of another in some way. Although there are many examples of easements I suspect in your case it will most likely be ‘a right of way’ i.e. a right to have access over adjacent land. Other examples include rights of light, rights of support and rights of water. In short there must be two pieces of land in different ownership for an easement to arise. Because easements are legal interests attaching to the land, they are passed from one owner to another. The existence of a right of way across the garden of a house may be undesirable and reduce the value of the property. Make an appointment to see your solicitor to discuss the easement in full and the impact of this on your purchase, your solicitor’s advice will obviously be crucial at this stage of the purchase.