Encumbrance: Definition and Examples 2022

what does encumbrance mean

Encumbrance accounting takes care of the fact that an organization spends within its budget. An Encumbrance is a type of transaction created on the General Ledger when a Purchase Order (PO), Travel Authorization (TA), or Pre-Encumbrance (PE) document is finalized. The encumbrance transaction shows an outstanding commitment by an organization.

An encumbrance can create a cloud on the title of a real property. This type of limit can also allow the property buyer to back out https://www.bookstime.com/articles/is-unearned-revenue-a-current-liability of the sale and possibly seek damages in some jurisdictions. A mortgage is one of the most common types of security interests.

What Does Encumbered Mean in Accounting?

The money is set aside in the budget and reserved for a specific obligation, such as a contract. Although an encumbrance may appear as part of a company budget, the actual spending may still encumbrance accounting have to go through an approval process. The company may require that an officer or controller sign off on a requisition or purchase order before any funds – encumbered or not – are disbursed.

Some localities have templates or agreements that you can fill in with the relevant information. Another common easement is one that exists when a common walkway to the beach cuts through one owner’s property. The landlord forbids the leasee from renting the property to a third party. Easements are encumbrances, because they prohibit certain actions and affect rights to the property. For example, you cannot build a swimming pool over a location reserved for a city sewer line. If you do, the city can dig up the swimming pool without your permission.

Examples of Encumbrances

Here’s what you should know before you move forward with your investment. Believe it or not, nearly every property in the United States has at least one encumbrance, sometimes referred to as an incumbrance. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master’s in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses.

  • Most encumbrances are claims against a property by a third party.
  • There are a number of different types of encumbrances that may affect a home.
  • If a property has an encumbrance, it can mean there is a limit on how the owner of that property can use it.
  • Also, owners are restricted from renovating encumbranced properties unless the debt holders consent.

Encumbrances – like an anchor – can weigh a house down until the homeowner settles the claims. A deed of trust encumbrance is very similar to a mortgage encumbrance in that it is a financial interest in the property. However, while a mortgage is a financial agreement between two parties, the mortgage lender and the borrower, a deed of trust also includes a trustee. The trustee is an independent third party who holds the title to the property while the mortgage is being repaid.


That’s why it’s important for home-hunters to understand what a real estate encumbrance is, the different kinds of encumbrances, and how they might impact your purchase of a property. Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers.

While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. For Purchase Order and Travel Authorization encumbrances, when the vendor or employee is paid, part or all of the encumbrance is released in accordance with that payment. The department will see a transaction that will appear under their Actuals (AC), separate from their Encumbrance (EX/IE/CE) debit/credit transactions. The purpose and main benefit of encumbrance accounting is avoiding budget overspending, by showing open commitments as part of projected expenses.

Encumbrances in Accounting

An encumbrance can affect the transferability of a property and restrict its free use until it is lifted. Whether you own a house or are looking to buy property, it’s important to know there will likely be some limits on what you as the owner can do with the property. These limits are known as encumbrances and are placed on the property itself, not the owner.

what does encumbrance mean






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