What is a Property Easement or Covenant?

What is an easement on a property? What is a covenant? what is the difference? If you have purchased, or are looking to purchase and develop land in Western Australia, it is likely that you have come across the term the terms Covenant or Easement.

If, like many, you find yourself as one of those people who sits at the pub and nods quietly when other people are talking about an easement on their block, but actually have no idea about what is being said, then read on. Easements and covenants, although slightly different, are quite common and actually quite simple to understand once you have got over the language.

In order to own land in western Australia you must be named on a certificate of title. Certificates of title are held by Landgate. The certificate will note who the legal owner is and then what the various charges and encumbrances other entities and bodies hold over the land. These can include, but are not limited to mortgages, easements and covenants. The exact size and location of any easements on the site can then be located on the survey plan of the site deposited with landgate.

Mortgages are held by the bank, and easements and covenants are rights granted by the owner to another party over parts of that land.

A covenant is a restriction granted by the owner to others that may accompany the land. This could affect such things as the size and style of new buildings to be built on the land (in the case of a vacant lot sale), orientation, requirement to develop such things as roads and build in a certain period of time.

Property Easements

Easements vary slightly in that they are essentially a right of access held by a body other than the land owner (examples of other parties are watercorp, local government, neighbour etc) granting them a legal right to use or practice enjoyment of a part of a piece of land not in their possession or ownership. Easements are often subsisting, meaning that they remain with the title even when ownership is transferred. Especially where facilities easements are concerned (power, water, sewerage etc), easements will often grant a right of entry to the facility provider which in real terms effects the where and what kind of buildings and fencing/hardstand can be placed on the block being built on.

image of what is an easement on a property

example of what is an easement on a property

It can be well worth doing your homework on a potential battle-axe or subdivision as an easement in the wrong place can make life very difficult. Covenants, similarly, can adversely affect the marketability of created parcels of land, or effect the feasibility of the project. For example, an easement can effect dwelling design and subsequent construction cost, or what parts of the site you can build on.

The good news is that Flynn Subdivision Experts have dealt with all manner of easements and covenants on our client’s projects. We’re always happy to give advice and are only a phone call away for a friendly chat if you are unsure about anything on your project. Call us today for a hassle-free subdivision.

Would you like to know more about easements and other problematic site restrictions that can impact your developments?

Get in touch with us to discuss your site, or educate yourself on site restrictions and other important feasibility considerations with our 225 page Infill Property Developer Guide-book and correlating Online Course.