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About

A Deed of Easement is a legal document that gives a person or organisation the right to use another person's land for a specific purpose. For example, a right of way is a type of easement that allows a person to walk across another person's land.Next steps

How much does a Deed of Easement cost?

The cost for a licensed solicitor to help with a Deed of Easement is dependent on many factors including the complexity and specific requirements of the case. On average it is expected to range from £450-£500 but in some cases it could cost as much as £689.

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Imagine having a beautifully landscaped backyard or a historic tree casting a comforting shadow over your property. Now, picture sharing that slice of heaven with your neighbour because of a little-known legal agreement - the deed of easement. 

deed-of-easement

The deed of easement, often hidden in the fine print of property documents, defines the boundaries of shared spaces and access rights, affecting everything from your daily routines to the value of your home. 

In this article, we'll unravel the mysteries of easements, shedding light on how these agreements can subtly shape the landscape of yours’ and your neighbour’s everyday lives. 

In this article, we will cover:

What is a deed of easement? 

A deed of easement is a legal document that sets out the right to use another person's land for something you have agreed on. In every deed of easement case, there is one person that wants to use another person’s land in a certain way. You will usually have to pay the other person a set sum of money (set out in the deed of easement) for the use of their land. Deeds of easement are commonly used in property law to formalise and define these rights.

Common easements include:

  • right of way on foot or in a vehicle;

  • right to use drains or pipes passing over someone’s land;

  • right of access;

  • right to receive light and right to park.

An easement can also be used to prevent someone from using their land in a certain way.

How much does a deed of easement cost?

The cost of a deed of easement can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the easement, legal fees, and whether you're using a solicitor or a DIY template. On average, it is expected to range from £450-£500 but in some cases it could cost as much as £689.

Using a solicitor - If you hire a solicitor to create a deed of easement, costs can range from a few hundred to over a thousand pounds. The price depends on the solicitor's hourly rate and the time it takes to draft the document.

DIY Templates - Some people opt for do-it-yourself (DIY) templates available online. These templates are more budget-friendly, often ranging from £50 to a couple of hundred pounds. However, using a template requires careful attention to legal details.

Land Registry Fees - If the easement affects registered land, there may be additional fees for registering the easement with the Land Registry. These fees can range from around £20 to £95, depending on the type of application and the method used.

It's advisable to seek legal advice even when using a template to ensure that the document is legally sound. Some solicitors offer fixed-fee services for reviewing or advising on DIY documents.

Who pays for a deed of easement?

The person who benefits from the easement, often called the "dominant owner," is typically responsible for paying the costs associated with creating a deed of easement. This includes legal fees for drafting the document and any applicable Land Registry fees for registering the easement.

How long does a deed of easement last?

A deed of easement doesn't have a specific expiration date. Once properly created and registered, it generally lasts indefinitely, passing on to future property owners.

However, there are situations where an easement might end:

  • By Agreement - The parties involved can agree to end the easement. This requires a formal agreement.

  • Abandonment - If the right granted by the easement is not used for an extended period, it might be considered abandoned, leading to its potential termination.

  • Merger - If the same person acquires both the dominant and servient properties, the easement might merge, ending its distinct existence.

Always seek legal advice for specific situations, but generally, a properly established easement is intended to provide lasting rights.

Does my house already have a deed of easement?

To find out if your house has a deed of easement, you can check the property's title deeds and any relevant legal documents. These records are usually held by the Land Registry. If an easement exists, it will be documented in these records.

Visit the Land Registry website and use their online services to obtain a copy of your property's title register and title plan. Review the documents related to your property, especially any deeds or conveyances. These may contain information about easements.

If you have had surveys or searches conducted when purchasing the property, these documents may also provide information about easements.

How to get a deed of easement

Getting a deed of easement involves a legal process.You should talk to a legal professional, discuss your needs, and let them create a deed that outlines the rights. Make sure all parties agree, sign the document, and if needed, register it with the Land Registry.  

Here's a step-by-step guide:

Step 1- Identify the Need

Determine why you need an easement, whether it's for a right of way, access, or another purpose.

Step 2 - Consult a Professional

Seek advice from a solicitor or conveyancer. They can assess your situation, explain the legal requirements, and guide you through the process.

Step 3 - Draft the Deed

The solicitor will draft the deed of easement, specifying the rights granted and any conditions. They ensure it complies with legal standards.

Step 4 - Negotiation

If necessary, negotiate terms with the affected parties. This could involve discussions with neighbours or relevant property owners.

Step 5 - Execution

Once everyone agrees, the deed is signed and executed by all parties involved. It becomes a legally binding document.

Step 6 - Land Registry

If the easement affects registered land, register it with the Land Registry. This provides public notice and secures the easement.

How long does a deed of easement take?

The time it takes to get a deed of easement can vary based on factors such as complexity, negotiations, and the parties involved. It's important to start the process early, especially if timing is critical for your situation. Legal professionals can provide more accurate timelines based on the specifics of your case.

To understand the time frame involved, you should begin a discussion with a solicitor or conveyancer to understand your needs and assess the situation.

If negotiations with other parties are required, this stage may add time to the process. In addition, If the easement affects registered land, registering it with the Land Registry may add some time to the process. 

Should you sign a deed of easement?

Whether or not you should sign a deed of easement depends on your specific situation and the terms outlined in the document. You should ensure that you fully understand the rights and obligations specified in the deed of easement and have sought legal advice before signing anything. 

If you have any concerns or if certain terms are not favourable, consider negotiating with the other parties involved before signing. 

It’s also critical to consider the long-term implications of the easement. Consider how it might affect your use of the property and any potential limitations on development or alterations.

If the easement affects registered land, consider the implications of registering it with the Land Registry. This step can affect the visibility of the easement to future property owners.

It's advisable to seek legal advice before signing any legal document, especially a deed of easement. A property solicitor can review the document and provide guidance on whether it is in your best interest.

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Does a deed of easement affect house value?

Whether a deed of easement affects the house value depends on several factors, including the nature of the easement, how it impacts the property, and the perceptions of potential buyers. 

does-a-deed-of-easement-affect-house-prices

The impact on house value can vary based on the type of easement. For example, a right of way may have different implications than an easement for utilities.

Some easements may be perceived as restrictive by potential buyers. For instance, an easement limiting the use of a portion of the property might affect its desirability. If the easement is well-defined and does not unduly restrict the use of the property, its impact on house value may be minimal.

Market conditions and buyer perceptions can influence the impact of an easement on house value. Some buyers may be more accepting of easements if they understand their implications.

Is a deed of easement transferable?

A deed of easement is generally transferable, meaning that the rights and obligations specified in the easement can be passed on to subsequent property owners. 

However, there are key considerations:

Express Provision

The transferability of an easement may depend on the specific language used in the deed of easement. Some easements explicitly state whether they are transferable or not.

Land Registry Requirements

If the property is registered with the Land Registry, the easement should be registered to make it legally enforceable against future owners. The Land Registry provides a public record of property rights, including easements.

Appurtenant Easements

Easements are often categorised as "appurtenant" or "in gross." Appurtenant easements are tied to the land, meaning they transfer automatically with the property. In contrast, easements in gross are tied to a specific individual and may not be as readily transferable.

Any restrictions on transferability should be clearly outlined in the deed of easement. Some easements may include restrictions or conditions related to transferability.

Depending on the terms of the easement, the transferability may require the consent of the landowner burdened by the easement.

Does a deed of easement run with the land?

Yes, a deed of easement can run with the land, and this is often referred to as the easement being "appurtenant" as covered above.  When an easement runs with the land, it means that the rights and obligations specified in the easement are automatically transferred to subsequent owners when the property is sold or conveyed.

It’s important to note that the language used in the deed of easement plays a crucial role. If the deed explicitly states that the easement is appurtenant and intended to run with the land, it enhances its transferability.

Can you vary a deed of easement?

Yes, a deed of easement can be varied, but the process involves the agreement of all parties involved, and it's typically done through a legal document known as a "deed of variation." 

A deed of variation is a legal document used to modify the terms of an existing deed, such as a deed of easement. This document must be executed in the same formal manner as the original deed.

Any variation to a deed of easement requires the agreement of all parties involved, including both the grantor (the party granting the easement) and the grantee (the party benefiting from the easement).

The deed of variation should clearly outline the changes being made to the original easement. Also, in some cases, variations to an easement may involve considerations or compensation.

How do you terminate a deed of easement?

Terminating a deed of easement involves a legal process and typically requires the agreement of all parties involved.

Begin by negotiating with the other party or parties involved in the easement. Then, you will prepare a legal document known as a "deed of release." This document formally releases and extinguishes the easement. 

It's advisable to seek legal assistance to ensure that the deed of release is properly drafted and complies with legal requirements. Legal professionals can provide guidance on the implications of termination.

Once again, if the easement affects registered land, the termination should be registered with the Land Registry. This ensures that the termination is legally effective against subsequent owners and is reflected in public records.

In exceptional cases, a deed of easement may allow for unilateral termination under certain conditions. However, this is less common.

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At Lawhive, our team of expert property solicitors are on hand to guide and support you through the deed of easement process. Fill out our quick and simple form to tell us about your case, and we will get back to you with a free, no obligation quote in as little as 48 hours. 

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