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Thinking of Farming? You Need to Know This…

About Rural Land Rights

You may have already read about land rights in the legal terms of real estate page, but the terms below deal specifically with Land Rights and how they apply to owning a farm or living in a rural community.

Please understand that this content is not intended as legal counsel.

Laws, by-laws and terms differ in each country, state, province and country.

Livestock farm: sheep

Check with your lawyer, real estate agent or municipal office for more detailed descriptions and assistance.

Farm Land Easements

An easement is a legally binding right of way placed on a block of property.

These right-of-ways may be on your property for other’s use, or on another property for your use.

The most common easement is for vehicular access through one property to an adjoining or adjacent property. Other easements may be conditional on seasons or renewals.

Eminent Domain

Some agencies have the right to expropriate land with compensation to the owner for public use.

Those agencies (generally governmental bodies, utilities, or councils) use this clause to disrupt your land for local growth. They will use such excuses as school construction, power line installations, new roadways, and the like.

Your local planning department (generally a municipal office or board) will know of any current or upcoming proceedings in the county agenda that may affect your property.

If you’re planning on moving into a new municipality, it’s always wise to research as much as you can about current governmental legislation, growth initiatives and policies for that region.


Encumbrances are legally binding rights of the Crown (again government), and if written into the deed or mortgage contract of the previous owner and sometimes for the benefit of the previous owner; your property can be exploited for natural resources without compensation.

You need a meticulous lawyer who specializes in real estate to close any sale you make on farm land. Otherwise you could find that the government or past owners of the property have full rights to strip your land of minerals, grown timber, and even your water supply.

Know Your Land Rights

You need to know about any of these specific land rights that are currently stated on that farm’s deed you are considering purchasing.

If possible, have them corrected well before the closing date. At the very least, use any easements or encumbrances as negotiating tools.

Give your lawyer ample time to research and prepare, and to clear your new deed’s title.

About Laura Childs

Country Living enthusiast Laura Childs was a downtown city girl for many years before heading to the hills to live a sustainable lifestyle, raise her daughter, get back to the land, and learn the time tested traditions of a simpler era. Throughout her farm life adventures of raising animals, working from home, home schooling her daughter, and being more green, Laura Childs has been sharing on the GoodByeCityLife website through articles and personal musings since 1998.