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Important easements in lease agreements

Important easements in lease agreementsAccess and services

The lease should also discuss the ancillary rights pertinent to the property. When leasing a flat (or similar such unit where only a part of the property is let) the tenant should be allowed the necessary easements that allow him to enjoy his property. Thus easements such as right of way on foot over the entrance lobby, hallways, stairways, lifts, inside the block, and by car, and on foot from the street over the surrounding ground shall be granted.

Easements for essential services to reach the flat or office should also be discussed. Such services include electricity, water, gas, drains, telephone services etc. And when the lease is for commercial property, it should also include the right to use computer. To carry this out, the landlord may have to provide cabling through other parts of the building.

The tenant may also want to install a television. For this purpose, the landlord may have to arrange for an aerial or similar such facilities. Does the property include a community aerial and if so will he be given a right to run a cable? Can the tenant be allowed to install his own satellite dish antenna or will there be community dish antennae? Is there an easement that allows the tenant to fix his own aerial?

Access for repair

A mere easement to use the pipes and cables is not enough. The easement should also include a right to allow these cables to be inspected and undertake repairs, and even replace them whenever necessary. The buyer’s solicitor should check for these rights.

New rights

In the case of long-term leases, it is not unusual for the situation to change during the course of the lease. It is important that the lease makes provisions for incorporation of new rights. Thus, the terms should include rights to install new cables and facilities besides those that are already there on the lease.

Use of toilets

In the case of office blocks, it is not unusual for communal toilets to be installed. These could be located elsewhere in the block. When there arises such a situation, the lease should explain about easements that guarantee the use of these facilities. Of course, the cost of maintaining and cleaning the toilet would form a part of service charges.

Rubbish

The problem of disposing rubbish will also have to be discussed. The lease should mention if there shall be a communal bin, or if every individual unit shall have access to a separate bin. Either way, these rights should be clearly mentioned.

Easements to be reserved

Even when the easements are made in favour of the tenant, it is important that these are reserved in favour of the landlord and other tenants in the block. Usually, an easement of a tenant becomes a restriction to the other. Every unit that is let shall be subject to rights similar to those granted to it. When such rights are not expressly mentioned, it is likely that the right granted shall not be reserved over the rest of the block and could be ineffective.

Photo courtesy: Rebecca Searle

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