Encumber means to burden with debts or legal claims. For example, an interest in real property may be encumbered by mortgages. When property is jointly owned, signatures of all owners is usually required to encumber the property.
In a broad sense, encumber means to burben or impede. The following is an example of a municipal statute dealing with encumbering a public way:
"PERMIT REQUIRED: No person, firm or corporation, or any agent or servant thereof, shall excavate, obstruct, or in any way encumber any street, sidewalk or other City-owned property or right-of-way in the City without first having obtained a written permit to do so from the City Engineer, except where such licensing power is particularly vested in the City Council (see RSA 231:184). Any person, persons, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions of this section shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for each violation, pay for any repairs necessary to bring the trench into compliance, and may subject the Permittee/contractor to revoked digging privileges."