If you plan to buy some land in a heavily developed area, you need to be very aware of your rights and understand exactly what you are purchasing. Unfortunately, some people go into this type of transaction with their head in the sand and believe that it will be very straightforward, especially if the land is essentially undeveloped. In a busy area like this, you may find that other people or entities have certain rights in relation to this land and they could restrict what you're able to do with the plot once you are the owner. How could this be possible?
Beware of Easements
Typically, an area of land will change hands when the owner agrees terms with the seller and cash is exchanged. In an ideal world, the seller would always tell you if you should be aware of any third-party involvement so that you can make a decision given all the circumstances, but this is not always the case, and you need to do your due diligence to uncover anything unusual.
In particular, you should be looking for the existence of an "easement," which is a legal document giving somebody else a right over your potential property.
In this case, the land in question could be a "burdened" lot, and this usually applies when a neighbour needs to have access to your land for a certain reason. This might happen if they need to drive across your property to reach their own, assuming it is landlocked, although you would almost certainly be aware of that situation. However, you may not be aware that utilities run across your property to get to your neighbour's house and they may have registered an easement so that they are able to access them at any time.
Public Service Access
Sometimes, a utility service provider will need to access part of your property to reach some crucial infrastructure, which may be buried underneath your land. In this case, it is known as an "easement in gross," which is a strange legal term giving rights to a public service provider. In this case, you will need to be very careful. You may not be able to develop the land in this area, as the easement would protect the hidden infrastructure.
Checking For Issues
Always instruct your legal counsel to search available records for the presence of an easement. Once discovered, you may be perfectly happy with the restriction, or you may choose to back out. For more information, contact your local property lawyers.Share
26 July 2018
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