Protect Your Boundaries: Why Knowing Your Property Lines Matters

December 07, 2016MortgagesNo Comments »

If you own your home then you will have at some point during the buying process or even in the years that followed considered exactly where the property line is for your home. If you are thinking about some additions to your outdoor space such as a new fence or water feature, knowing in advance exactly where your property line is located can save you a great deal of effort, cost and heartache down the road. Whatever the reason you have for wanting to know exactly where you property line is, you should know that it is an extremely important part of home ownership.

I know where my property line is! It’s my fence right?

The short answer is… maybe. There are a number of reasons that a fence may not be on the exact property line. A disagreement between neighbours from years past could be the reason, or a desire for one home owner to have complete control over the design, height and other factors related to the fence. Perhaps the most common reason that this happens is that it is a complete mistake.

How can I find out exactly where my property line is?

The only people that are legally allowed to mark where a property line is are land surveyors. They can mark a property line and ensure that a fence or pool is on the right side of the property line of your home. In order to have a clear idea of the dimensions of the property line you will need to be looking at a land survey plan. The ideal land survey plan is one that includes the dimensions of your house with measurements to the property line. Using this plan, you can measure the distance from the walls of your house to where you property line is. You should be careful when using this measurement alone to determine where you are going to put a fence as there may have been structural changes to the property that have an effect.

I have an existing survey plan from a few years ago, can I use that?

These can be very useful indeed! Property boundaries do not usually change very much, if at all so having an existing survey plan can be a great tool. A word of caution, the property boundaries that are outlined on the existing plan may not have been taken using the latest technology. This is not usually an issue but depending on the age of the plan you may want to invest in having a new survey plan completed to be on the safe side. This is especially true if there is anything that is illegible on the plan. If a plan is handwritten this is a good indication that you need an update in any event.

How can I be sure that I am reading the survey plan correctly when planning the location of my fence?

Boundary steakouts a great solution to this and one that is thoroughly recommended in the case of a dispute between neighbours over the property line. A boundary stakeout is provided by a land survey team. They will physically mark out the property line in the ground with place markers. Once these are in place, there can be no disagreement over the property line and where your new fence can be placed.

If i get into a dispute with a neighbour how easy it is to get resolved?

The best part about a new land survey is that there is very little room to argue. It is a face that the line marked by the land survey team is the property line. Whether this will satisfy your neighbour is another issue. The best course of action is communication with those who live next door to you if you’re hoping to avoid any long term animosity.

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