Easements affecting school land

Information about how to request an easement and what to do if someone asks you for one.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors 
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Property Managers
  • Third parties e.g., School neighbours

Other parties that want an easement across school land will need the consent of the Ministry. If a school requires an easement on neighbouring land this must also be managed by the Ministry. 


An easement is the right to use someone else’s land for a specific purpose. Sometimes schools have easements across their grounds, or require easements over a neighbour’s land. Easements are usually permanent.

Some typical easement requests might be:

  • the council wants to put in drainage pipes across the school grounds
  • an electricity supplier wants to put a transformer on the corner of your school
  • the council wants to put a footpath across your school grounds.

Who can grant approval

School land is usually owned by the Crown. Therefore, only Toitu te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) (with consent from the Ministry) can agree to the granting or acquisition of an easement.

If the land is leased by the Ministry of Education, we will need to seek landowner approval for the easement. This may increase general time frames and costs.

If someone asks your school for an easement

You must email all requests for easements to your Property Advisor. Easements require a lot of documentation and can take a long time to complete, so it is important to get in touch with your Property Advisor as soon as you know an easement is required.

We will need to confirm that the easement will not have a negative impact on the school, e.g.; underground pipes might provide improved services but could affect where you can put new buildings. We will consult with you during the process to ensure that where identifiable, negative impacts are mitigated.

If you require an easement

Contact your Property Advisor if you need an easement over someone’s land, for example, if you need to lay pipes across a neighbouring property for your school’s water supply.

The Ministry’s consent will be required for an easement so do not negotiate directly with the neighbour. We will negotiate the arrangement and ensure any agreements are recorded on the appropriate land title.

Paying for easements

Costs should be attributed to the party who receives the benefit of the easement. We will discuss costs related to easements with you before work begins. Easements over Crown owned land must be negotiated and prepared by a LINZ Accredited Supplier and agreed by LINZ, and there are legal restrictions on what the Crown can agree to. These differences can increase the cost and delivery timeframes, compared to easements agreed between private parties.

Compensation for easements

In some situations, the Crown may be entitled to compensation for granting an easement under the Public Works Act 1981. This may be a lump sum or an annual rent for its use. 

Compensation is typically payable by a third party if they require an easement over School land. There are also some instances where the School may need to pay compensation to a third party (i.e. private landowner) if the School requires an easement over land that is not owned by the Ministry (Crown).

  • Compensation is assessed by an independent registered valuer appointed by the Ministry or our agent. The party that will receive the benefit of the easement is responsible for paying for the valuation.
  • When assessing the appropriate compensation, the registered valuer will consider factors like the loss of value to the school land, including any future limitations on its development (e.g. loss of usefulness), and the increase of value to the benefitting land in accordance with the Public Works Act 1981. 
  • All compensation payments are made to the Crown as the owner of the land, not the school.

Paying compensation if the easement benefits the school

If the school will benefit from the easement, the school will have to pay for the easement. This includes accredited supplier fees, surveyor fees, valuer fees, compensation costs, and any costs incurred by the party granting the easement. These costs must be budgeted for by the school as part of the project. If the easement is required as part of a School Project (i.e. an electricity connection to support a roll growth classroom) and the easement is over Ministry land, there is no compensation payable by either party. 

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