Boundary Surveys & Disputes
What is a Boundary Survey?
A boundary survey, also known as a cadastral survey, is a type of survey conducted to determine the exact location of, dimensions, a legal boundary of a parcel of land. The primary purpose of a boundary survey is to establish and document the boundaries of a property, ensuring that they are accurately depicted on maps and legal documents.
Here are some key aspects of a boundary survey:
- Boundary Identification: The surveyor will research existing land records, deeds, and other relevant documents to identify the legal description and historical information pertaining to the property boundaries. This information helps in understanding the original intent of the property boundaries and any associated easements or encroachments.
- Fieldwork and Measurements: The surveyor will physically visit the property and conduct fieldwork to determine the boundaries. This typically involves using surveying equipment to measure distances and angles, as well as locating existing boundary markers, monuments, and reference points. The surveyor may also search for physical evidence such as fences, walls, or hedges that mark the boundaries.
- Boundary Markers: The surveyor may place or re-establish boundary markers, such as stakes or monuments, to clearly demarcate the property boundaries. These markers serve as visible reference points for future surveys and property owners.
- Survey Plan and Legal Description: Based on the field work and measurements, the surveyor prepares a survey plan that accurately depicts the property boundaries, dimensions, and relevant features. The plan includes a legal description of the property, which is a written description of the boundaries that can be used for legal purposes.
- Boundary Analysis and Documentation: The surveyor analyses the collected data, including field notes, measurements, and legal information, to verify the accuracy of the boundaries and resolve a discrepancies or conflicts. The surveyor then prepares a comprehensive report that documents the findings of the boundary survey.
Boundary surveys are commonly conducted for various purposes, including property transactions, subdivision of land, resolving boundary disputes, construction projects, and legal matters related to property rights The survey provides property owners, land professionals, and legal entities with an accurate understanding of the property boundaries, which is crucial for making informed decisions and ensuring proper land management and ownership.
Who needs a Boundary Survey?
Several individuals and entities may require a boundary survey depending on their specific needs and circumstances. Here are some examples of who may need a boundary survey:
- Property Owners: property owners may need a boundary survey to have a clear understanding of their property boundaries. It helps them identify the precise location and extent of their property, which is crucial for property management, construction projects, and potential boundary disputes.
- Prospective Buyers: Individuals or entities interested in purchasing a property may commission a boundary survey to ensure they have accurate information about the property’s boundaries before making a purchase. This helps them assess the property’s size, location, and potential encumbrances.
- Real Estate Developers: Developers who can plan to subdivide land for construction projects or new developments require a boundary survey to determine the precise boundaries of parcels they are working with. This ensures proper planning, compliance with zoning regulations, an accurate representation of subdivided lots.
- Construction Professionals: Architects, engineers, and construction contractors may need a boundary survey to understand the property boundaries and plan construction projects accordingly. This ensures that buildings and structures are constructed within the correct boundaries and comply with setback requirements and other regulations.
- Legal Professionals: Attorneys, solicitors, and other legal professionals involved in property-related disputes or transactions may require a boundary survey as evidence or documentation. It helps establish accurate boundaries and can be crucial in resolving boundary disputes, adverse possession claims, or other legal matters related to property rights.
- Government Authorities: Government agencies responsible for land management, urban planning, and infrastructure development may require boundary surveys for various purposes. This includes determining land ownership, establishing property tax assessments, updating land records, and managing public infrastructure projects.
- Lending Institutions: Banks and financial institutions may request a boundary survey as part of the due diligence process for the property’s boundaries, potential encroachments, and any associated risks before approving loans or mortgages.
- Insurance Companies: Insurance companies may require a boundary survey to accurately assess the value and risk of insuring a property. This helps determine insurance coverage, premiums, and potential liability issues.
It’s important to note that the need for a boundary survey may vary depending on factors such as the specific property, local regulations, transaction type, and individual circumstances. It is advisable to consult with a licensed surveyor or land professional to determine whether a boundary survey is necessary in a particular situation.
How to resolve a boundary dispute?
Resolving a boundary dispute can be a complex process, bur here are some general steps that can help in finding a resolution:
- Review Property Documents: Begin by reviewing the property documents, such as deeds, surveys, and any relevant agreements, to understand the initial intent of the property boundaries. These documents may provide valuable information and evidence to support your position in the dispute.
- Communicate with the Other Party: Initiate open and respectful communication with that other part involved in the boundary dispute. Express your concerns, share your perspective, and listen to their side of the story. Clear and respectful communication can often help identify areas of agreement and potential solutions.
- Seek Mediation or Arbitration: if direct communication does not lead to a resolution, consider involving a neutral third party to facilitate a mediation or arbitration. A mediator can assist in guiding the discussion and finding a mutually agreeable solution. In arbitration, a neutral arbitrator listens to both sides and makes a binding decision. Mediation and arbitration can be less formal and costly alternatives to litigation.
- Hire a Surveyor: Engage a licensed surveyor to conduct a boundary survey. The surveyor will analyse existing records, conduct fieldwork, and prepare a detailed survey report that accurately depicts the property boundaries. The survey report can provide objective evidence to support your position and help resolve the dispute.
- Consult Legal Counsel: If the dispute remains unresolved, it may be necessary to seek advice from an attorney specialising in real estate law. They can review the property documents, survey reports, and relevant laws to provide guidance on the legal aspects of the dispute. They can also represent you in negotiations, mediation, or legal proceedings if required.
- Obtain Court Involvement: In some cases, resolving a boundary dispute may require court intervention. If all other efforts have been exhausted, consult with your attorney to determine if filing a lawsuit is necessary. The court will assess the evidence, hear arguments from both parties, an make a legally binding decision.
- Consider Compromise or Settlement: Throughout the process, be open to compromise and settlement options may help reach a resolution. This could involve adjusting the boundary lines, granting easements, or reaching a mutually agreed-upon solution that satisfies both parties interests.
Remember, boundary disputes can be complex and emotionally charged. It is essential to approach the process with patience, willingness to negotiate, and a focus on finding a fair resolution. Consulting with professionals such as surveyors and attorneys can provide valuable guidance throughout the dispute resolution process.