Buying land is a good investment. However, you must note that land use is governed by many regulations at national and local levels. Deeds and contractual agreements can also restrict you from using land that you have just acquired, forcing you to engage in costly legal battles to resolve the issues. Therefore, make sure that you can go on with construction before you pay for it. Here are some of the important land deed restrictions that you must know as they can affect your land use plans:
Rights-of-Way and Easements
Easements and rights-of-way have a close relationship because they both touch on granting exclusive land use rights to another party. However, they differ slightly in the sense that an easement allows another party to use the land in a specific way. On the other hand, a right-of-way allows another person to travel across your portion of land. For instance, a power supply company might have an easement that allows it to install power lines right through your land, which can adversely interfere with your development plans. Ask the seller if anyone has rights-of-way or easements on the land before you buy. Some of them can be part of the land deed, lasting forever or temporarily until the holder of the easement or right-of-way dies.
Sometimes, it is hard to tell the precise location of the boundaries of a certain piece of land. This is a common cause for encroachment, as those with a title to the adjacent pieces cannot determine where they should reach. With an unclear boundary, there is a high risk of trespassing on another person's land by partially setting up a structure on his or her land. Moreover, unclear demarcation encourages people to use the land freely. After a period of prolonged use, adverse possession (the legal owner has no right of ownership) may apply. Make sure the seller shows you clear boundaries demarcated by a fence, corner points or stakes. You will conveniently avoid unnecessary legal battles when you want to start your project.
Protective covenants are used by organisations like housing associations to preserve the value of the property or the attributes of a certain community. Often, they come into play when you buy land in a subdivision. The covenants can restrict the design of your structure, the materials you should use and the nature of important installations like sewage systems. Ask the seller if the deed is subject to any protective covenants to avoid unprecedented costs or restrictions during construction.