Would you believe it is possible to buy a property without access? How do you get there? How do you get away? It has happened and it will happen again! One of the things us legal types look out for when reviewing a contract for sale as part of the conveyancing process is access to the property. Sure, most people just drive off the road into their driveway, but this is not always an option.
Some properties require a different type of access right. This right is usually some form of easement for access. In NSW, the usual terms for an easement for access are set out in a schedule to the Conveyancing Act NSW (for those interested follow this link (http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca1919141/sch8.html). Whilst these are the usual terms, on many occasions the easement will be specifically set out in an instrument registered on the title to the property.
Ultimately, such an easement provides an interest in land allowing one person rights to use the land of another person. In this example, an easement for access may have the effect of allowing one person to drive over another persons land to get to their property. The terms of such an easement should be read and understood prior to entering into any contract for the sale of land as the granting of rights and the terms of such rights will have a material effect on the price or value of the property. For example, a right of access may not be provided to trucks of a certain weight or anything other than the right to pass over a property by foot.
Whilst there are avenues to proceed in the event that you find yourself the owner of a landlocked piece of land, it is always better to ensure that you appreciate the terms of an easement prior to entering into the contract for sale. The wording of such easements is often very difficult to comprehend as they may have been drafted many years ago in language that we may now find unfamiliar. Such is the conveyancing process in NSW.
If you have any queries as to the implication of an easement on a property that you are looking to purchase (remember, predecessor owners of the property you are looking at may have granted rights to others over land that you will potentially own) please give one of the expert property lawyers here at ClickLaw a call to ensure you appreciate the implications of any easement.
Solicitor Director – ClickLaw Australia