The following 3 title terms -all beginning with the letter “e” – are common terms related to the title insurance industry. They are also terms that people tend to confuse with one another. Here are brief definitions of each to add to your real estate glossary:
Encumbrance: A right or interest in land decreasing its value but not hindering its sale or transfer. Encumbrance is the terminology we use to describe anything that affects or limits the title of real property. Some encumbrances are referred to as voluntary encumbrances, such as mortgages, deeds of trust, leases, easements, liens, or restrictions. Other encumbrances are referred to as involuntary encumbrances. These may include judgments, tax liens and child support liens.
Encroachment: a term which implies, “advance beyond proper limits”. In real property law, an encroachment describes the extension of an improvement onto the land of another. The actual structure that encroaches might be a tree, bush, bay window, stairway, steps, stoop, garage, leaning fence, part of a building, or other fixture.
Easement: A limited right of interest in the land of another entitling the holder to some use, privilege or benefit. Easements are helpful for providing pathways across one or more pieces of land. An easement is considered as a property right in itself at common law and is still treated as a type of property in most jurisdictions. The most important thing to know about easements is that there are many and varied types of easements and that the rights of an easement holders may vary substantially among jurisdictions from state to state.