Glossary of Property Term - E

Earnest money
A sum deposited, before an agreement is binding in law, by one of the parties wit the other as an indication of his good faith and his intention to honour the terms of the agreement, eg a pre-contract deposit.

Easement
A right appurtenant to a parcel of land entitling the dominant owner to use the land of the servient owner in a particular manner, or constraint the legal rights otherwise enjoyed by the servient owner, eg a right of way, right to light,right of support.
Strictly speaking, easement cannot exist “in gross”, ie personal and unattached to the ownership of land, but rights similar to easements can be created by statute,usually for the benefit of public utility undertakings, and these are commonly referred to as “ statutory easement”, eg oversail.

Economic life
The period during which the value of a site and buildings in any possible use is greater than the value of the site for any other feasible purposes including redevelopment.

Encumbrance
In strict property terms a debt or charge legally secured over land, thus encumbering it. In general parlance, it is used to include legal rights or interests in or over someone else’s land, eg easements or restrictive covenants.

Endowment
The placing of funds or property into trust for specific purpose, eg the maintenance of a charitable institution, or for the benefit of some person(s).