AskDefine | Define encumbrance

Dictionary Definition



1 an onerous or difficult concern; "the burden of responsibility"; "that's a load off my mind" [syn: burden, load, incumbrance, onus]
2 a charge against property (as a lien or mortgage) [syn: incumbrance]
3 any obstruction that impedes or is burdensome [syn: hindrance, hitch, preventive, preventative, incumbrance, interference]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A burden; a thing that must be carried.
  2. an interest, right, burden, or liability attached to a title of land, such as a lien or mortgage.

Extensive Definition

Encumbrance is a legal term of art for anything that affects or limits the title of a property, such as mortgages, leases, easements, liens, or restrictions. Also, those considered as potentially making the title defeasible are also encumbrances. For example, charging orders, building orders and structure alteration.
In Hong Kong, there is statutory definition of "encumbrance". In Conveyancing and Property Ordiance (Cap. 219) it reads: "''"encumbrance" (產權負擔) includes a legal and equitable mortgage, a trust for securing money, a lien, a charge of a portion, annuity, or other capital or annual sum; and "encumbrancer" (產權負擔人) has a meaning corresponding with that of "encumbrance" and includes every person entitled to the benefit of an encumbrance, or to require payment or discharge thereof''".
It is also a term used by colleges and universities to describe limitations placed on a student's account due to late payment, late registration, or other reasons stated by the institution. An encumbrance can prohibit students from registering for classes, affect the release of their transcripts, or delay the reception of their diplomas.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

affliction, albatross, bale, bitter cup, bitter draft, bitter draught, bitter pill, burden, burden of care, burdening, burthen, cankerworm of care, care, cargo, charge, charging, client, clog, cross, crown of thorns, cumber, cumbrance, curse, deadweight, dependent, difficulty, disadvantage, distress, drag, embarrassment, freight, gall, gall and wormwood, grievance, hamper, handicap, hardship, hindrance, impedance, impediment, impedimenta, imposition, inconvenience, incubus, incumbency, infliction, lading, liability, load, loading, lumber, millstone, obstacle, obstruction, onus, oppression, overload, overtaxing, overweighting, pack, pack of troubles, peck of troubles, penalty, pensionary, pensioner, pressure, protege, public charge, saddling, sea of troubles, sorrow, superincumbency, surcharge, taxing, thorn, trouble, ward, waters of bitterness, weight, white elephant, woe
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