Are you are a landowner with a property affected by
- overhead electricity lines
- telecommunications masts or poles
- solar panels
- utility pipework
If so, you may already be familiar with the terms ‘wayleave’ and ‘easement.’
Put simply, a wayleave is a periodically renewed right of use by apparatus over or under someone else’s land for which payment is made. For example, electricity companies may put pylons or solar panels on your land and pay you rent.
In many cases, the arrangement works well, causing little or no inconvenience, with owners continuing to use their land for agricultural, grazing or stabling purposes.
If you have been asked to grant permission for a new electricity pole, overhead line, line support or buried cable to be installed on your property and to sign a NEW wayleave or to CHANGE an existing wayleave it is very important that you seek expert legal advice.
Do not be caught out by signing what appears to be a terminable agreement which can, in fact, turn out to be binding.
An easement grants a permanent right to a person, company or statutory body, over land they do not own. For example, a gas company may put a pipeline through your land. It may make a single lump payment for this. Often no payment is made for an easement as it may already exist when you buy the land.
The water industry and Environment Agency have compulsory powers to lay new water pipes and sewerage, although they can be laid through mutual agreement with the landowner. Private individuals and developers may also be able to call on compulsory rights by buying supplies or sewerage connections from those with statutory powers.
The rights required for water, sewerage or drainage pipes can be formalised by a legal deed of easement, by lease or sale of the subsoil in which the pipe is to be laid. A negotiated agreement will usually give better protection to the landowner than compulsory purchase.
The specialist land dispute team at Pearson Rowe solicitors are here to advise and provide you with expert help and guidance on wayleave agreements and easements. The best time to take legal advice is when ‘Heads of Terms’ are produced.
For more information please contact us.