An easement is an established right to use or enter onto a property or land without having ownership of it.
Easements and rights of way can be acquired over decades simply if the owner of the land or property does not dispute the right of way. In some cases, a right of way might have developed over many years and it is only when a new owner buys a property or piece of land that a search reveals the history of the right of way.
Easements and rights of way can take many forms if the use of the land or property has built up over time, including using a footpath or route across land, or parking a vehicle on land or property.
There is a different between an easement and a right of way, however:
An easement is the right to use a property without having possession (ownership) of the property. There are appurtenant easements giving a right to use property owned by another party if it is for the benefit of neighbouring (appurtenant) land. A gross easement confers on a specified individual the right to use another party’s land or property. Easements can be both negative and affirmative – ie they can prevent use of land or permit use. An easement can also be lost through short- or long-term failure to use the easement, known as “estoppel”.
A right of way confers on others the right to pass over or travel across property – for example, if a road or footpath exists across the land. Use of a right of way must be reasonable and usually the right of way would be beneficial to another piece of land or property not owned by the party conferring the right of way. This might be the case if it is necessary to cross privately owned land to reach another piece of land or a property.
It is advisable to seek legal advice at an early stage in any dispute over easements/right of way.
Duncan Lewis litigation solicitors can advise at any stage of a dispute – including advising on injunctions and estoppel.
Duncan Lewis has highly successful litigation and property departments and our in house experts can act swiftly to protect a client’s interests in any dispute over easements/right of way.
For expert legal advice on property litigation and Easements/Right of Way, call Duncan Lewis Property Litigation Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.