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Easements for Garbage Trucks


New developments are everywhere in South-East Queensland, which is something to be excited about! Doing the research to find the perfect parcel of land, to fit your perfect house, or at least the house you can afford, with your dream features. The day has arrived, the land now has your name on the title, along with the banks as the mortgagor. You have your designs ready to go and just need to get that Building Approval to start. Hold on a minute, there is an easement in your front yard, what is it for? What do you mean I have to have larger offsets from the front boundary? That means no back yard! Instead of holding on for a minute, you now may have to wait at least 40 days. 

At this point, I imagine you are feeling, frustrated, angry, why did nobody point this out earlier? Chances are you did see the small square on the disclosure plans or survey plans, you saw it said Emt., however what you didn’t realise was the implications this easement could cause, and the remedy to resolve it.

The easement is for a garbage truck to turn around, as the subdivision is staged and until the next stage is built, the garbage truck has nowhere to turn around. When I was purchasing my home, I fell in love with this house, it was modern, it had a pool, fantastic alfresco area and a Bali theme. After dreaming about this property online I checked out Queensland Globe (add hyperlink to QLD Globe website), where my dreams started to fall, I noticed it had an easement out the front. I thought that was weird, I couldn’t see any underground services or electrical so I called the real-estate agent and asked them what the purpose of the easement was for. They told me there was an easement for sewer for under the pool, after a few moments of conversation I realised the agent had no idea there was an easement out the front and what it’s purpose was for. So I went and bought myself the title and the dealing number for the easement and established it was for a garbage truck turn around so the bins could be emptied at the end of the street as the street didn’t carry through to the next stage yet. This is when I decided that I didn’t want to own a property where I had to ensure my driveway was kept clear on bin day for a truck to turn around. There was no set date for the future development, therefore I had no idea how long these trucks would be using it for. Also, with the added wear and tear on my driveway, I decided to pass on this property and purchase elsewhere. Luckily for me being a surveyor I knew where to look to find the information for myself. 

Surveying easement

However, a client of ours was not so lucky. They didn’t find out the implications of setbacks that this easement had on their future home until the building approval was required. Fortunately, there was a solution, the easement size can be reduced to allow them to build closer to the road and give them a bigger back yard. To make the easement smaller there was consultation with local government and amendments to the original DA to allow for the smaller easement size. Next a surveyor is required to determine the location of the existing boundaries and place survey marks for the new easement size. A plan of survey needs to be drawn and sealed at council. But wait there’s more. The easement is registered on title and under the Land Title Act 1994 an easement may not be amended in size or location. This means the current easement needs to be surrendered, which means easement documents are required to be drafted, legal fees and more time. Then new easement documents need to be created hence more easement documents, legal fees and more time.

To add more given local government is the benefiter of the easement in larger council they wish to prepare their own easement documents. However, there are still consents required to be gained by the land owners and the bank if there is a mortgage over it. So, a solicitor is required to prepare those. Once all the documentation is created, the plan of survey sealed, the solicitor may lodge them at Title Registry for registration. At this point the lodger is given a dealing number. This is the number your certifier is needing so you can get that BA and start building your dream home. However, it can take up to 5 – 10 business days for titles to examine the documents and survey plan to ensure everything is correct prior to registering them. At this point in time there is still a chance it could take longer if a mistake was made somewhere. If this is the case, the documents go back to the lodger to be corrected and back to titles. Once everything has registered, the surveyor will receive an email alerting them that the plan is now registered, and the lodger also receives an email alerting them of the registration. 

I guess you are wondering how this problem could be avoided? Ask your local town planner or certifier if the easement will affect the location of the building? Ask your surveyor what is the purpose of the easement and the restrictions and responsibilities that come with having the easement over your property.

How to tell if you have an easement over your property? Queensland Globe is a great tool to see visually if there is an easement, however easements are not always kept up to date on QLD Globe and the best point of truth is to purchase a title from the property. Not sure how to do this? You can go to a titles customer service desk and purchase one, if a customer service desk is not close by, you can purchase one online. Otherwise we at All Points Surveys can arrange to purchase one for you. 

Braden Corfield