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Easements … bite size

An easement is a right which one landowner has over a neighbouring landowner’s property. For an easement to exist 4 conditions must be met:

  • There must be a dominant and a servient tenement. So there must be two pieces of land owned by different people. One piece of land will benefit from the easement (the dominant tenement) and the other piece of land will be burdens with the easement (the servient tenement).
  • The dominant and servient owners must be different persons. So both areas of land have to be in separate ownership.
  • An easement must accommodate the dominate tenement. Easements attach to land. They are not personal rights. So the easement must benefit the dominant tenement in a way which can be enjoyed by future owners of that land.
  • A right over land cannot amount to an easement unless it is capable of forming the subject matter of a grant. There are a few elements to this:
    1. The easement must be granted by someone who had the power to do so;
    2. The easement must be sufficiently certain;
    3. It must be a right which is generally recognised as being capable of being an easement

Examples of easements include rights of way, rights of drainage, rights to run cables and pipes and rights of light.


Key cases:

Re Ellenborough Park [1955] 3 All ER 667

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