Wayleaves and Easements

How to deal with the potential obstacles of Wayleaves and Easements put into force over your plot.

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Easements

An easement is not dissimilar to a covenant in that it also attaches to the title of the land. However, with an easement, instead of it controlling how the owner of the land is able to use his land, they usually grant rights to an owner of once piece of land over the land of another owner. Normally, a typical easement grants access rights to to the occupants of one dwelling over the land belonging to the owners of neighbouring dwellings.

As with a covenant, it is likely that all of the land in question would have once been in the same ownership and those rights which are granted by the easement will not be able to be extinguished without agreement. However, a redundant easement can be struck down by the Lands Tribunal.

Differing from covenants, rights of passage or easements are able to be obtained via long usage and are known as Prescriptive Easements. The use of the land must have been established without force and has to be continuous, legal, and unchallenged. Application must be made to the Land Registry and has to be backed up by Statutory Declarations. It is not possible to get such rights over Railway, Waterways, or Crown land. This is also applicable to Highways land, but as this is specifically for public access purposes, this restriction is in most cases meaningless.

Wayleaves

Wayleaves are used to grant the rights of services to be passed beneath or across land. They are usually granted in favour of the Statutory Undertakers, and some exist indefinitely, whilst others are set with definite end dates. Most wayleaves have a procedure which allows either party to break the agreement made once a certain period of time has elapsed, but this will usually depend on there being an alternative site or route available. Wayleaves will ordinarily show up in the details within the Land Registry. A redundant wayleave can be extinguished by the Lands Tribunal.

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