When it comes to property ownership and land use, the legal landscape can be intricate and nuanced. Easements are one such legal concept that plays a crucial role in shaping land access and usage rights. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of easements, exploring what they are, how they work, and their significance.

Defining Easements:

An easement is a legal right that allows someone to use another person’s land for a specific purpose. In simpler terms, it grants a person or entity certain rights over a property they don’t own. Easements are often utilized to grant access or rights to utility companies, neighbours, or the general public. These rights can be affirmative, meaning they allow the holder to do something (e.g., walk across a property), or negative, restricting the landowner from doing something that would otherwise be legal (e.g., building a structure that obstructs a view).

Types of Easements:

  1. Right of Way: This is one of the most common types of easements. A right of way grants someone the legal right to pass through another person’s property. This can be for pedestrians, vehicles, or even livestock. For instance, if your property is landlocked and you need to cross a neighbour’s land to access a public road, you might have a legal right of way.


  1. Easements for Services: These easements allow utility companies to access a property for maintenance, repair, or installation of services like water, electricity, or telecommunications. This ensures that necessary services can be provided without the property owner’s constant approval.


  1. Light and Air Easements: These easements restrict the landowner from building structures that could block light and air to another property. This is particularly important in densely populated areas where maintaining access to light and air is crucial.


  1. Conservation Easements: These are designed to protect natural resources and landscapes. They restrict the development of a property to preserve its environmental or historical value. Conservation easements are often negotiated between property owners and conservation organizations.


  1. Profits à Prendre: This unique type of easement allows the holder to take a product from the landowner’s property. This could include the right to hunt, fish, or gather specific resources from the land.


Creating Easements

Easements can be created in various ways:

  1. Express Grant: This is when the landowner explicitly grants the easement to another party. The terms and conditions are typically documented in a legal agreement.


  1. Express Reservation: In this case, the landowner sells or transfers their property but reserves the right to maintain specific easement rights over it.


  1. Necessity: Easements by necessity arise when it’s necessary for a landlocked property to have access to a public road.


  1. Prescription: Similar to adverse possession, an easement by prescription can be acquired through consistent and uninterrupted use of another person’s land for a specified period, usually 20 years.


  1. Implication: This occurs when a property is divided, and the previous use of the land suggests that an easement is necessary for the continued use of the divided properties.


Easements and Land Value

Easements can impact the value of a property. While some easements might limit certain activities or development opportunities, others can enhance the property’s value, like a scenic view easement. Property buyers and sellers should always carefully consider existing easements and their implications on land use and value.


Easements are a fundamental aspect of property law, governing the rights and access of various parties to a piece of land. Understanding easements is crucial for landowners, prospective property buyers, and anyone involved in real estate transactions. By navigating the world of easements, we can strike a balance between individual property rights and the collective needs of a community, ensuring that land access remains fair, equitable, and functional.

If you have any questions regarding easements, please give our property team a call on 0161 850 9911.