Whether you’re buying a house or renovating your property, easements and boundary lines could potentially affect your plans. While rules and regulations vary between states and councils, the basic concepts are universal.
Here is a quick guide to easements and boundary lines:
What is an easement?
An easement is a legal right to use another person's land for a specific limited purpose. If a person who is not the owner of the property is granted an easement, they have a legal right to use the property.
There are two main types of easement: utility and right of carriageway.
- Utility easements: Utility companies are granted an easement so they can run essential services like water and electricity. This gives them access to work on your property to maintain and repair services such as a power line or cable line that is within the boundary of your property.
- Right of carriageway: This type of easement will allow your neighbours road access if your property blocks their access to a road, or to anyone else who needs a legal right to pass through your property.
The owner of land which is subject to easements needs to abide by the law to ensure road access and services to other people. If you wish to construct over an easement, it’s important that you get consent first from your local council.
What are boundary lines?
Boundary fences or property lines marks where your property ends and your neighbour’s property or a public space begins. Knowing your boundary lines will tell you exactly the legal size and shape of your land so you know your land's limits.
Your boundary lines will also dictate the area that you are responsible for, so you know where you can build fences and where you can erect a structure. This is good if you’re considering of expanding your home.
You can find out your boundary lines by looking at the deed to your home. You can get a tape measure and check the boundaries for yourself. You can also get a licensed surveyor to get a more accurate measure of the boundaries of your home.
It is important to find out what easements and boundaries apply to a property before you buy it. Ask your local council if there are any existing easements on the land before you buy.