An easement is a legal right of way or similar right over another owner’s ground or property.

In relation to Council’s business an easement gives the right for Council to have services such as watermains, sewers, manholes, pumping mains, pumping stations stormwater pipes, and their associated equipment, in privately owned property.

The objective of an easement is twofold:

  • first to have the right to lay, renew, upgrade and maintain the service; and
  • second to prevent a structure, such as a house, being built over the service and preventing easy access to a portion of it.  This applies to any part of the structure and includes overhang from eaves, balconies, carports etc.  It is not just restricted to the “footprint” of the structure.

In many circumstances sewerage and stormwater systems may not have an easement but similar rights were given under the Local Government Act 1974, which was in force at the time these systems were installed in the Kapiti Coast District, without any designation being shown on the deposited plan or reference in the Certificate of Title.  Section 181 of the Local Government Act 2002 preserves this provision.

Easements are made under the Land Transfer Act 1952 subject to compensation, survey and registration.  Section 90D and the Seventh Schedule give “full, free, uninterrupted and unrestricted, right” to Council and it’s agents to lay, maintain and replace the specified utility.  This includes the right to excavate but requires that as little disturbance as possible be made and that the surface be restored to as near it’s original condition as possible.

The conditions specified in the easement can vary but generally state the type of service, such as a water pipeline, reasonable notice, damage to fences or gates and whether and what type of trees or shrubs may be planted on the easement.

Council has adopted a policy in relation to building over pipelines, that covers all pipelines whether covered by an easement or not.

For further information please contact the Council Office.