Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Answer # 394
Easements and restrictive covenantsRegion: Ontario Answer # 394
Even though you are the legal owner of a property, other people may have legal rights to access your property, or there may be certain restrictions on what you can do with your property.
Rights and privileges over your property given to others are usually called easements or rights-of-way. Restrictions on your land are called restrictive covenants. Because these rights and restrictions are attached to the land, and not to the owner of the land, they continue to exist over your property even though the property has new ownership.
Real estate matters such as easements and restrictive covenants can be complicated and involve large sums of money. To get help, call a lawyer now.
Easements or rights-of-way
An easement is the right of use over the property of another. Easements or rights-of-way can arise formally by a written agreement, or they can arise informally by permitted use. There are also different types of easements.
Common easements include rights given to utilities for maintenance of water, sanitary, and storm sewer lines, and rights given to phone companies for telephone line maintenance.
Another type of easement, referred to as an easement to re-enter, usually exists when a subdivision is newly built. This type of easement allows the developer entry for the purpose of completing outstanding work, such as paving the streets or installing storm sewers.
Another common easement is a maintenance easement. This often occurs where properties are built so closely together that an owner of one property is permitted access to an adjoining property for the purpose of maintaining his or her home, such as cleaning the eaves or having the windows washed. Formal easements over property are normally registered on title at the land registry office.
Sometimes, a right-of-way can arise from permitted use. This can be the case, for example, where access is required to a well, or to an otherwise landlocked property.
A restrictive covenant is a contract which places limitations on what can be done on your property. Developers of new subdivisions use them to ensure that the land is developed with uniformity. For example, a subdivision may have a restrictive covenant preventing the storage of any boats or trucks in the driveways, or prohibiting the installment of satellite dishes or clothes lines. Some restrictive covenants are not legally binding, particularly if they are considered arbitrary or contrary to public interest. Under the Ontario Land Titles Act, restrictive covenants are set to automatically expiry after 40 years. This is enforceable unless, however, the covenant itself gives a different end date to the covenant.
Restrictive covenants are not as much of a concern with the purchase of a resale home, as they may have expired, or might not be enforceable because the development of the subdivision has been completed. Every property has its own set of rights and obligations.
Need help with a Deposit?
A Home Deposits Now Guarantee provides a stress-free alternative to obtaining a deposit. You do not need to borrow from friends and family, liquidate investments and pay breakage and interest fees, or obtain certified cheques, a line of credit, or bridge financing. Home Deposits Now issues a Guarantee that your Realtor submits along with your offer, instead of a cash deposit or certified cheque. For a quote, use the Cost Calculator.
The online application takes only minutes to complete. Visit Home Deposits Now to apply for a Deposit Guarantee.
Get legal help
Real estate matters involve large sums of money and complicated legal issues. To get help, call a lawyer now.
You now haveoptions: