Understanding Easements Registered on Titles in Alberta

Easements in Alberta

Anna Dunaeva DLegal Anna Dunaeva March 26, 2023
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If you’re a home or property owner in Alberta, you may have come across the term “easement” before. An easement is a type of legal right that gives someone the ability to use your property for a specific purpose. For example, an easement might give a utility company the right to run power lines across your land.

In Alberta, easements are usually registered on the land title documents. This means that if you sell your property, the new owner will be bound by its terms. Easements can impact what you can do with your property, so it’s important you understand them before buying or selling a property with an easement on its land title documents.

What Is an Easement?

An easement is a legally binding right that grants one party the authority to use another’s property for a specific purpose. Easements are considered a restrictive covenant and registered on land titles in Alberta, so if the property is sold, the new owner must be aware of the agreement and must abide by its terms. Easements are commonly used when one party needs to access another person’s land for a certain purpose, such as installing power lines or pipelines. They can also be used when one party wants to guarantee access to a body of water or other feature located on another party’s land.

In Alberta, if an easement is not registered on title with the land titles office, then it may not be enforceable in court and could potentially be disputed by another party in the future. Registering an easement creates clarity and certainty regarding its existence and scope of authority. This makes it easier for parties involved in a dispute to resolve their differences without having to go through lengthy legal processes.

How Do You Know if There Is an Easement on Your Property

To determine if there is an easement on your property, you need to locate the property title deed which is held by the land titles registry. A property title in Alberta (otherwise known as a certificate of title is a legal document that provides evidence of a person’s land ownership. It contains the owner’s name, a legal description of the property, and any easements and other encumbrances that may be registered on it.

In Alberta, land titles are managed by the land titles office in accordance with the Land Title Act and can be accessed in person or online title search. You will need to provide proof of identity when accessing land titles from the official land title offices, as well as information about the property such as its address or legal description. Once you have located the property title deed in question, you will then be able to see if there are any easements registered on it.

If you cannot locate your property title deed or suspect that there may be an easement registered on it that you are not seeing, then you should contact a lawyer who specializes in real estate law. They will be able to help you determine if there is indeed an easement the landowner’s property and what steps need to be taken in order to address it. However, if no legal documents can be found indicating an existing easement, then it is likely that none exists on that particular land registration document.

What Are the Implications of Having a Registered Easement on a Land Title

Having an easement registered on the title can have a number of implications, both positive and negative. Firstly, having a registered easement ensures that any rights or obligations associated with any previous agreement are legally binding. This means that if either party violates the terms of the agreement, they may be held accountable in court. With that in mind, registering an easement with the land titles office can protect both parties from potential liability issues in the future as it establishes a clear record of what is allowed and what is not.

Having an easement registered on title can also affect how property taxes are assessed as certain easements may provide tax benefits to one or both parties depending on the specifics of the agreement. For example, if a utility company has access to a body of water located on another person’s land for purposes such as running pipes or power lines, they may be exempt from paying certain taxes related to their activities.

However, it is important for property owners to consider how having an easement registered on title could potentially impact one’s ability to sell or transfer their property in the future. It is possible that prospective buyers might view having an existing easement as being too much of a burden and decide not to purchase it due to this. Therefore, it is important for individuals to take this into account before entering into any agreements.

Finally, some implications need to be considered regarding insurance coverage when an easement is registered on the title. For example, depending on which type of insurance policy is taken out by either party involved in the agreement, certain activities which are allowed under the terms of the easement may not be covered under some policies. Therefore, parties with existing easements registered on titles must have adequate insurance coverage should something go wrong while exercising their rights under said agreement.

Can You Sell or Mortgage a Property With an Easement Registered on Title?

Yes, it is possible to sell or mortgage a property with an easement registered on the title. However, a new buyer must adhere strictly to all terms set out in the original agreement in order for the sale or mortgage arrangement to remain legally valid. Failure to do so could open up either party to potential liability issues in court down the line should either one decide not to honor their obligations under said agreement.

What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities If You Have an Easement on Your Land Title

When there is an easement on the land title, both parties involved have certain rights and responsibilities that must be respected. It is important to note that having an easement registered on title does not automatically grant one party complete control over the affected land, but rather both parties will have certain rights which must be respected.

For example, one party may be entitled to reasonable access for purposes such as fishing or boating in order to exercise their rights under the terms of the agreement. However, any activities which are allowed by the easement must not interfere with or disrupt the other party’s use and enjoyment of their property in any way.

Either party may also be responsible for ensuring that their activities comply with any applicable zoning regulations or laws applicable to the area where their property is situated. This includes keeping up with necessary permits and paying required fees associated with such activities so that they remain compliant with all relevant regulations.

How Can You Get Rid of an Unwanted Easement

If you have an unwanted easement registered on your property title, there are a few ways to go about getting rid of it. The first option is to negotiate with the easement holder and agree on terms for its release from your land title. This could involve compensation for releasing their rights or some other arrangement that satisfies both parties involved. If successful, the release must be documented in writing and registered at the local land title office.

Another option is to pursue a court order to have the easement extinguished if both parties cannot agree on mutually satisfactory arrangements. The court will consider various factors when making a decision, such as whether there has been any harm caused by the easement holder’s use of the property or whether it was created in an unreasonable or oppressive manner. It’s important to note that this process can be costly and time-consuming, so it should be considered only after other options have been exhausted.

Finally, you may also be able to apply for a statutory easement release from your local government or municipality which can result in the cancellation of certain types of existing easements registered on title. However, these releases are not always available to the registered owner. Again, they depend on where you live and what type of easement you have on your particular property.

Consulting with a qualified real estate litigator is highly recommended before attempting any form of dispute resolution regarding an unwanted easement as they can provide invaluable guidance throughout the process and offer professional advice tailored specifically to your unique situation.

What Are Some Common Examples of When an Easement Would Be Created and Registered on Title in Alberta?

In Alberta, easements are created and registered for a variety of reasons. There are three main types:

  • Common easements, such as utility easements. They permit public services such as electricity, gas, and water lines to be placed on the land;
  • Right-of-way easements which grant limited access across the property; and
  • Recreational easements that provide unrestricted access for activities like hunting and fishing.

Easements may also be used in agricultural contexts, where an owner of farmland may grant an easement to another party, allowing them the right to graze animals on their land or harvest crops from it. In addition, there are conservation or open space easements that preserve pest or wild habitats by preventing developments from occurring on certain land areas.

Private agreements between two parties may also establish easements over another’s land. For example, this could mean you share a driveway or parking lot with a neighbor.

Encroachment easements could govern the rules of something such as a fence or roof which overhangs onto adjacent property and how it could be managed.

Difference Between an Easement and Right of Way

A right of way is an easement that allows the holder to travel over another person’s land. Right of way agreements in Alberta are often used for public utilities to construct or maintain infrastructure like powerlines, pipelines, or fiber-optic cables. In other cases, they can be used by governments deeded as public roads. Both easements and rights of way must be properly registered at Alberta’s Land Titles Office in order to be formally recognized as enforceable interests that override private ownership in land title documents.

What Are the Consequences of Failing to Register an Easement?

Failing to register an easement can have serious consequences for both the easement holder and the property owner. Without a registered document, the rights granted in the easement are not formally recognized by law and may not be legally enforced. This means that any dispute between the two parties about their respective rights and responsibilities can be difficult or impossible to resolve without an adequately documented agreement.

The absence of an official record also makes it more difficult to prove that an easement exists in the first place. In some cases, this could lead to one party attempting to prevent the other from using their right of access over the land or otherwise invalidating the terms of the agreement and potentially opening up both parties to liability issues.

A registered document provides clear evidence of existing rights on a particular piece of property, so it also helps protect both parties’ interests when they choose to sell or transfer ownership of their land in the future. Without proof that an easement exists, potential buyers could be influenced in their purchasing behaviour. This can further reduce its value and make it more difficult for either party to receive fair market compensation for it.

Easements vs. Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive covenants are an essential part of the legal process in Alberta, helping to prevent potential issues between neighbours. In addition, restrictive covenants help families enjoy their property in peace and harmony with others. These types of covenants involve restrictions on activities conducted on a given property that can be binding on all current and future owners.

Restrictive covenants include prohibiting large-scale development, such as construction of multiple homes, limiting the exposure of unsightly features, preserving green space or trees, and regulating noise levels. In many cases, events under these restrictive covenants may be enforced by special bylaws created by a municipality.

As such, restrictive covenants impose certain restrictions on the owner of the real estate property, whereas easements give certain entitlements to their holders.

Overall, registering an easement is essential for protecting the legal rights of both sides involved and ensuring that any potential conflicts are avoided down the line. As such, it’s important for all parties who agree to establish an easement relationship over private land to take steps to ensure that its terms are properly recorded with their local government office as soon as possible.

If you are dealing with any easement on your property title – for better or worse, then get in touch with the lawyers at DLegal Law Office.


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