Large scale development projects, such as condominium projects, are popping up all
over the Greater Toronto Area. Developers will often contact neighbouring property
owners to negotiate crane swing and tieback easement agreements in exchange for
These easement agreements allow the developer to access the neighbouring property’s
air space (for crane swing operation) or underground area (for installation of tiebacks
and/or nail anchors). These agreements would typically allow for cheaper and faster
construction for the developer, which means they have incentive to negotiate
compensation with nearby property owners.
While it is important to maintain neighbourly relations, these types of easement
agreements are not without significant risks for the neighbouring property owner.
Consult with a lawyer and an engineer to consider all of the possible risks before
entering into this type of agreement and taking some quick cash payment. You can
even ask the developer to pay for your reasonable professional fees in advance of
entering into any agreement, regardless of whether a final agreement is reached.
You will want to ensure that any easement agreement provides certain protections for
your property, including:
- End date: it is best to ensure that there is a clear end date and/or termination
date in your agreement. If formal easements are registered on title to your
property at the Land Registry Office, ensure that there is a clear end date stated
and that they are removed at the end of the term.
- Damage to the structure of your home or building: you should have clear terms
that provide for the developer to repair any damage to your property in a timely
manner. This should include any damage caused by construction vibrations.
- Insurance: the easement agreements should provide for adequate insurance and
general liability coverage to be obtained by the developer to cover the works that
would be occurring on your property. You should be named as an insured on the
insurance policy and be provided with evidence of this insurance in advance of
any work being performed.
- Indemnification: in addition to general liability insurance, an indemnity in your
favour from the developer can protect you from liability for any accidents that
may occur on your property by the developer or its employees, agents,
contractors or subcontractors in carrying out the crane or tieback work.
- Cleaning construction debris/dust: construction projects can cause significant
dust, dirt and debris to accumulate on neighbouring properties. The agreement
should provide for the developer to clean and remove any debris from your
property at the end of the project and at specified times throughout the project.
This may involve cleaning cars, exterior windows, exterior walls, gutters,
driveways, patios, etc.
- Compensation: significant compensation can be offered to a property owner to
enter into these types of agreements. Sometimes property owners can use this
opportunity to seek non-monetary compensation such as a fence along the
property line or an encroachment agreement if you have a fence or shed
encroaching on the developer’s side of the property line.
How Unified LLP Can Help
The Property and Commerce team at Unified LLP have extensive experience
advocating for property owners. Our lawyers can assist you with negotiations with the
developer and can review any easement agreements to ensure that you and your
property are protected. It is important that you understand exactly what you are
agreeing to and what risks may be involved. We also have an extensive network of
professional contacts we can refer our clients to, such as engineers, where further
professional advice is needed.
Your property is often one of your largest assets and it is in your best interest to protect
it. Consult with a lawyer before you sign any agreements that may impact your
Please contact Michael Paiva, Partner and head of Unified LLP’s Property and
Commerce group at 416-800-1733 or 519-729-5038 for more information, or if you
require assistance with a property related matter.