Easements, Covenants and Profits à Prendre

Publication date: 08 June 2011

In this report, we make recommendations to simplify, modernise and enhance the law of easements, covenants and profits à prendre.  These rights are essential to the effective use of land and are relied upon by a significant proportion of property owners in England and Wales.  Parts of the current law are ancient, contradictory and unfit for modern society.  The report recommends reform where it is needed, while preserving those aspects of the law that function as they should.  Our recommendations would not affect the validity and enforceability of existing rights.

The reforms we recommend would:

  • make it possible for the benefit and burden of positive obligations to be enforced by and against subsequent owners;
  • simplify and make clearer the rules relating to the acquisition of easements by prescription (or long use of land) and implication, as well as the termination of easements by abandonment;
  • give greater flexibility to developers to establish the webs of rights and obligations that allow modern estates to function;
  • facilitate the creation of easements that allow a substantial use of land by the benefiting owner (for example, rights to park a car);
  • expand the jurisdiction of the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal to allow for the discharge and modification of easements and profits created post-reform.

This report concludes our project on Easements, Covenants and Profits à Prendre.

Reference number: LC327

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