An easement is a property right where a land owner has the right to use a neighbor’s property for the purposes defined in the easement. Easements can be used for a variety of purposes including:
- Access (including Shared Driveways)
- Discharge of Materials (Septic Fields)
- Private Utilities (Public Utilities often use Statutory Rights of Way)
- Underpinning of Foundations
Easements must have lands which are burdened (called the servient tenement) and land which are benefited by the easement (called the dominant tenement). Often the Land Title Office has registered the easement as a Legal Notation against the Dominant Tenement and registered the easement as a Charge against the Servient Tenement.
Regardless of whether the Easement burdens or benefits the lands, the Easement terms needs to be reviewed by a lawyer prior to subject removal. The lawyer will be examining the easement to determine if it contains terms which impose an additional burden on the home owner (such as a requirement to insure, indemnity provisions, or requirements to shovel snow). If the location of easement is critical to the use and enjoyment of the property, a BC Land Surveyor should be engaged to determine the location of the easement on (or adjacent to) the property.
Note: There are other instruments which may be referred to as “easements” in other jurisdictions, but which in British Columbia are either rights at common law (for example the right to access the foreshore) or are separately registrable instruments (for example: statutory rights of way, air space parcels, historic and conservation covenants)