Easement FAQs

An easement is a section of land registered on a property title, which gives another party the right to use the land for a specific purpose even though they are not the property owner.

If the property is sold to a new owner, the easement is transferred with the property.

Unitywater uses easements for access, water supply and sewerage purposes.

Unitywater easements give us the right to enter the easement area to install, maintain and repair water and sewerage infrastructure (read more in Clause 2 of the Standard Easement Terms).

Unitywater does not permit permanent structures within its easements. It is critical we can easily access our infrastructure, especially in an emergency. This might include using excavators, large vehicles and machinery.

Where there is a Unitywater easement on your land, you must not at any time without our written permission erect any permanent buildings or structures (other than fences and driveways) upon the easement land. Property owners with Unitywater easements on their land must also make sure we can access the easements at all times.

If you want to build over an easement, you can apply for easement encroachment, however please be aware these applications are rarely approved. 

Easements can be identified by a title search from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

If there is an easement on your property, you need to keep any permanent construction work - except for residential driveways and residential fences - outside of this area.

The property owner is responsible for maintaining the easement land. For example, if you would like a tree removed from the easement land, this is your responsibility.   

Most of Unitywater's infrastructure lies in roads. However, from time-to-time to meet its community responsibilities Unitywater may need to take an easement. Unitywater may take an easement in gross for either water supply or sewerage purposes, or both. An easement in gross is only registered against the burdened lot and is granted to public utility providers under s 81A of the Land Title Act 1994 or Schedule 6 of the Land Act 1994.

The landowner is the owner of the easement land. Unitywater only holds an interest on the land.

The landowner is responsible for maintaining the easement land.  For example, if you would like a tree removed from the easement land, this would be the landowner’s responsibility.

Developer FAQs

When conditioned to do so as part of a Unitywater Connection approval; OR where triggered under the South-East Queensland Water Supply and Sewerage Design and Construction Code (SEQ Code).

In most instances you will need to provide a Form 9 Easement and a copy of a survey plan endorsed by a surveyor. 

The Form 9 Easement template is available free of charge from the DNRME website.

You will need to engage a surveyor to assist you in the preparation of the plan of easement.

If the easement document is not prepared correctly DNRME will reject your documents and you will be required to correct the documents. DNRME may charge you a fee.

The landowner of the land is responsible for the preparation of the documents to allow for successful registration of the easement. Unitywater will not prepare your documents. It is recommended you obtain legal advice to make sure your documents are prepared correctly.

All associated fees and costs are payable by the landowner of the land

Grantor: The landowner of the land.

Grantee: Northern SEQ Distributor-Retailer Authority. 

Landowner: The person or organisation whose name appears on the official records of the Land Registry as the registered owner. 

Does Unitywater have standard easement terms and conditions?

Yes. Our standard easement terms explain Unitywater’s rights and obligations and any restrictions that apply to anyone with an interest in the land.

Can I change Unitywater’s easement terms?

It is not usual practice for Unitywater to amend its standard easement terms. Unitywater is the grantee of a large number of water, sewerage and access easements across its operating region.

In order to maintain and operate its infrastructure, especially during an emergency, Unitywater requires standard easement terms to ensure it can be confident it is acting properly and with authority when accessing and maintaining its infrastructure and responding to its customers’ needs.

Is there a fee to lodge and register the easement documents?

Yes. Lodgement fees are payable to DNRME.

Unitywater prefers to sign the documents first.  Please do not post or email signed easement documents to Unitywater. Email a completed unsigned Form 9 Easement along with a copy of the endorsed survey plan by the surveyor to realestate@unitywater.com or post to Unitywater - Property Services PO Box 953, Caboolture, QLD 4510.

While there is no legislative time frame to sign easement documents, as a customer service, Unitywater will endeavour to provide a 10-business day turnaround. However, please note this is dependent on the complexity of the development and the correctness of the document submitted.

Unitywater will post all signed easement documents to the requested party by way of express post envelope for ease of tracking. 

Easement encroachment FAQs

No.  Unitywater is not supportive of building/structures in its easements. It is critical Unitywater can easily access its infrastructure to maintain and repair it, especially in an emergency. This may include using excavators, large vehicles and machinery.

You do not need approval for the following structures within a Unitywater easement:

  • Residential fences
  • Residential driveways
  • Small plants and shrubs
  • Eaves three meters or over the vertical clearance from ground level to the underside of the overhang
  • A like for like replacement of an existing retaining wall.

The types of structures Unitywater will not permit in a Unitywater easement include:

  • Advertising signs
  • Children’s playground
  • Decks
  • Electrical conduit/cabling
  • Fish ponds
  • Flag poles
  • Garages
  • Gazebos
  • Granny flats
  • Houses or house extensions
  • Hydrants
  • Outdoor kitchen equipment
  • Retaining walls
  • Shade sails
  • Sheds
  • Spas
  • Stairs
  • Swimming pools

If in doubt, don't do any building work without the proper checks and planning.

It is important to note applications to build over easements are rarely approved, and we recommend you plan building works to remain outside of the easement.

When structures are placed in our easements it increases the cost of maintaining our infrastructure. This means an increased cost to our community. This is why we are rarely supportive of structures being placed in our easements.

1. You will need the following to apply for easement encroachment:

  • current title search for the property this application relates to
  • Easement Conditions Document relating to the easement over which you wish to encroach
  • a plan of the easement
  • design plans.

These documents (except for design plans) can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

2. Then download and complete the following form: 

Application for Easement Encroachment (F10155)

Email the completed form along with the required documentation to realestate@unitywater.com

For reference:

You can plant small plants or shrubs in the easement or over the pipes, just make sure you select species that will not damage the pipes. Before planting any trees or shrubs please consult our planting guide

Any illegal structure will need to be removed at the landowner’s cost, and should the landowner not comply with this requirement, Unitywater would exercise its rights and have any illegal structure removed at the landowner’s cost.