Meaning of easement of necessity

An easement of necessity arises when the property could not be used at all without it.

Ray v Hazeldine ([1904] 2 Ch. 17) concerned two neighbouring houses, originally in common ownership. H sold one house to R without reserving any easements. R then built a wall that stopped light reaching a room used as a pantry in the house retained by H. H knocked it down. R sought a declaration that she was entitled to build the wall. H claimed a right of light as an easement of necessity. It was admitted that the pantry could not be used as a pantry if the light to it was obstructed by the wall. The claim failed. This was not an easement of necessity since some other use could be found for the pantry which did not depend on the flow of light through the window. It was not enough that the claimed easement should be reasonably necessary; it must be absolutely necessary if an easement of necessity was to be implied.


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