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Residential Buyers Beware

Registered Easements… Residential Buyers Beware

Buyers of residential properties on the Gold Coast (in fact anywhere throughout Queensland) should be made aware at the time they sign the Contract if there is any easement which is registered over the property they intend to buy.

Easements can either be benefitting or burdening the land in nature and it is the burdening type which can create headaches for Buyers after they enter into the Contract.

A burdening easement grants a third party (i.e. the Local Council, Telstra, Energex, etc.) to access infrastructure which is located under the ground for the purposes of repair and maintenance. The existence of the easement over the property prevents the registered owner from building any permanent structures over the easement area.

Problems arise when registered owners of properties are either not aware of the existence of the easement, disregard the existence of the easement or do not seek confirmation as to the size of the easement area and proceed to build structures over these areas unbeknown to the Local Council and without Local Council authority.

Subsequent buyers of the property may then be faced with situations whereby there are structures built over the easement area. However, if they do not seek satisfactory legal advice and have experienced solicitors acting on their behalf that can clearly identify the easement area and seek clarification from the clients as to anything being built within that area, buyers may be purchasing properties with structures over easement areas. Such structures clearly won’t have the often required council approval and, if the third party to which the easement is granted needs access to the area, entitles that third party to remove all of the structures as much as they need to permit their access and they have no obligation to the registered owner to pay compensation or to reinstate the area after the repair and/or maintenance of the infrastructure by the third party has been conducted.

Buyers of property on the Gold Coast and in Queensland in general should use the services of experienced solicitors to ensure that buyers are protected from inadvertently inheriting situations which could cost them thousands of dollars at a later date.

Call Kristy Collins, Senior Associate for advice to ensure that you know what you are buying before you sign on the dotted line.