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2 types of encumbrances on real estate you should know about

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2023 | Real Estate Law

As a real estate investor, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of various legal concepts and terms associated with property ownership. One important issue of note is encumbrances.

Encumbrances are legal claims or restrictions on real estate that can affect its ownership and use. The following are two common encumbrances that every property owner, investor and buyer should know about.


An easement is a legal right that allows someone to use a specific portion of another’s property for a particular purpose. It grants access or utility to a third party without transferring ownership. Easements can be beneficial, such as granting a utility company the right to access property for maintenance purposes. They can also be burdensome, like when a neighbor has the right to use a pathway crossing an individual’s land in ways that impact the owner’s enjoyment of the space.

Easements can be created in various ways, including by:

  • Express agreement
  • Necessity
  • Prescription

It’s important to know about existing easements on a property you plan to buy or own to avoid surprises or conflicts in the future. A thorough title search and consultation with a real estate attorney can help identify any easements on a property and determine their impact on its use.


Another type of encumbrance you should know about is liens; they are legal claims placed on a property to secure debts or obligations. They serve as collateral, helping ensure ensuring the property owner fulfills their financial responsibilities. Common types of liens include:

  • Mortgage liens
  • Tax liens
  • Mechanic’s liens

Understanding the various types of encumbrances is essential for anyone involved in real estate transactions. By being aware of these encumbrances, you can make informed decisions, avoid potential conflicts and help protect your investments.