what is an easement ?

An easement is a right enjoyed by one landowner over the land of another and is granted for a special purpose rather than for general use and occupation of the land.

An easement has six defining characteristics:

  1. It must be granted for a specific and clear use;
  2. It must be comprised of both the dominant and servient tenements;
  3. It must have a separate ownership of the lands involved;
  4. It must solely benefit the dominant tenement;
  5. It runs with the land, so it binds subsequent owners
  6. The dominant and servient tenement do not have to be adjoining.

The dominant tenement is the estate or interest in land that derives benefit from an easement over a servient tenement, as in a right-of-way. An easement must confer a benefit on a dominant tenement.

By contrast, a servient tenement involves land over which an easement exists in favour of a dominant tenement.

Creating and Terminating an Easement

An easement can be created in one (1) of four (4) ways:

  • Express grant
  • Prescriptions
  • Implication
  • Statute

Conversely, an easement can be terminated in one (1) of three (3) ways:

  • Merge
  • Release
  • Ceasing of purpose

Types of Easements

There are several types of easements commonly found in residential properties:

  • A right of way – frequently found on properties that allows a person to travel or pass through another’s land;
  • Party wall easements – they are created when registered owners of adjoining parcels of land enter into a party wall agreement in order to divide the wall between the attached unit.
  • Mutually shared driveway – when a strip of land shared by adjoining neighbours is used as a joint driveway by both parties and creates an easement on each property.

If you are dealing with an easement issue on your property, such as a mutually-shared driveway, please contact us and let us know how we can help you.



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