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Frequently Asked Questions - easements

What is an easement?
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An easement is a legally binding agreement between the property owner(s) and another party, which in this case is Council. It grants the use of the land to another party (Council) in a specified manner as set out in the terms of the easement agreement and is registered on the property title.

What is a ground anchor easement?
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A ground anchor easement is a right for Council to use your land to locate ground anchors where they are necessary for the repair or replacement of the retaining walls.

See also What is an easement?

What is a ground anchor easement agreement?
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This is the agreement between you and Council that records your agreement to grant Council the right to use your land to locate the ground anchors. The easement document will be registered on the certificate of title (now called the computer register) for your property.

Do all retaining walls need easements?
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Walls that don’t affect private property will not require easements.

Do I have to seek legal advice, or can I just sign the easement agreement?
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We strongly recommend you take legal advice from your lawyer on the ground anchor easement agreement. You will also need a lawyer when it is time to register the easement on your title.

Will you pay the legal costs that I incur in signing a ground anchor easement agreement?
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Council will meet reasonable legal costs. This is generally not more than $1,000.

I do not have a lawyer to advise about easements; will you find one for me?
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You need to have independent legal advice so it would not be appropriate for us to find you a lawyer. The District Law Society or the “Yellow Pages” is a good place to find contact details for lawyers.

Will you pay compensation for me to sign a ground anchor easement agreement?
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Council is not offering compensation in return for the easement as these retaining walls are either protecting or providing access to your property.

What if I don't sign a ground anchor easement agreement?
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Generally construction cannot begin until all easement agreements are in place. In some places preparatory work can begin in areas where easements are not required.

What if I sign the ground anchor easement agreement for my property and the neighbours don't sign theirs; will you still repair the retaining wall outside my property?
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Generally construction cannot begin until all easement agreements are in place. In some places preparatory work can begin in areas where easements are not required.

I can't get my house repaired until the retaining wall is fixed and my neighbours won't sign their easement agreement; can't you just fix the wall anyway?
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The construction methodology for repairing the retaining wall requires us to build the retaining wall from the bottom up along the entire length of the wall, so all easements must be in place.

I don't want a ground anchor easement; will Council buy my house?
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Council is not proposing to purchase any properties in respect of repairing damaged retaining walls.

I only part own the property. Do you need all the other owners to sign the ground anchor easement agreement?
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Yes, if the property is in a multiple (or joint) ownership then all owners of the property need to sign the agreement.

Will having a ground anchor easement on my property affect its valuation?
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It is considered that there is no significant effect on the value of the property. Owners should take some comfort in knowing the remedial work on the retaining wall is being undertaken.

What do I do if I need a private retaining wall repaired or replaced on my property but I have a ground anchor easement and ground anchor in the way?
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We will work with individual owners in these circumstances to ensure the repair of the public retaining wall does not adversely impact on the repair of the private retaining wall.

Will you start construction immediately after all ground anchor easement agreements are signed?
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This will be influenced by the length of time it takes to secure all the necessary agreements. We have allowed approximately 2 months for this to occur. If it takes substantially longer to gain the necessary easements, construction may be delayed due to work crews and resources being diverted to other high priority projects.

If I sell my house do I have to tell the new owner about the ground anchor easement?
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We would recommend that you do as it demonstrates openness and honesty, and may avoid any potential delays or issues with the sale if you were not to disclose that information. Their lawyer will see the easement document when they search the certificate of title for the property once the easement is registered.