First of all, easements are not bad things that need fixing. An easement is simply a legal right to use a portion of another property. There is no cause for alarm! However, easements are a critical element of a property, so knowing about a property’s easements and what rights they afford to who is very important.

What is an easement?

An easement is a right to cross or otherwise use another’s land for a specified purpose. 

For example, your property may have an easement over your neighbour’s property to allow you to access your backyard. Or maybe your property and your neighbour’s property have an easement that permits you both to share a single driveway.

The concept of an easement is that they are right of use, not ownership. Also, important to note is that easements are registered for or against the land, not people. The only exception to this rule would be an Easement in Gross, which is registered with a company (such as Bell or Rogers) or with people rather than the land.

Buying and selling property with Easements

All rights and obligations of an easement registered on your property are automatically transferred to the new owners when you sell. 

Similarly, if a property owner wishes to sell their land, they do not need the approval of the party whom the easement favours. However, any change in the use of the property must take into consideration the fact of any existing easement. This would include building additions, a change in fence location or severance of land.

Other types of easements

There are several kinds of easements that affect Canadian land. Some of these include:

  • Right-of-ways
  • Utility Easements
  • Conservation easements
  • Construction
  • Right to light
  • Support 
  • Time-limited access
  • Maintenance
  • Air rights
  • Easements described in a condominium declaration

Learn More about easements here.