Clashes with Neighbours over Property Boundaries?

Clashes with Neighbours over Property Boundaries?

Clashes over boundaries are common around Australia. Unfortunately, they are often long, drawn-out, acrimonious and ultimately futile processes.

The fact is that “clashing” with your neighbours simply doesn’t resolve boundary issues. Whatever the merits of your case or your neighbour’s case, there’s only one way to settle these issues.

Property Boundary Disputes: Causes and Effects

Property boundary disputes are usually caused by:

  • Incorrect measurements in construction: The fact that a boundary is properly surveyed and a title is properly drawn up doesn’t mean a lot of mistakes aren’t possible. Simple errors in construction measurements can result in fences or even buildings landing well inside another property’s boundaries.
  • Title errors: These errors can be complicated. They may affect a group of titles simply because one of the group’s adjoining boundaries was wrongly drawn on the title, affecting all the others. Even council land has been found to encroach on private land because of errors of this kind.
  • Landowners getting boundary lines wrong: This is also common and usually very counterproductive if a dispute arises. A landowner may innocently, but quite wrongly, use land which is actually on a neighbour’s property.

Settling Disputes: the Right Way and Wrong Ways

There are two ways to manage a boundary dispute; the right way and any other way.

The right way is to get a survey done, ensuring accurate measurements. This is called an Identification Survey where the surveyor will research all evidence and physically mark the boundary in the correct position.

A surveyor will be the neutral party, measuring boundaries accurately. Both parties should agree to abide by the surveyor’s findings and hopefully share in the surveyors fees. It’s hard to argue a case in court when the survey will deliver information contrary to a claim.

The wrong ways of managing a boundary dispute are based on a series of mistakes:

  • A boundary claim which conflicts with registered title boundaries will usually fail. Title boundaries are the baseline for title claims. Unless there was a provable error in the drawing of boundaries, there’s not much chance of success. A court would have to find that the title boundaries were wrong and order rectification.
  • A boundary claim based on no physical evidence will inevitably fail. This type of dispute is all too common, usually as a result of a landowner’s belief that the boundary is wrong, and for no other reason.
  • Some boundary disputes are based on historical errors. Many landowners don’t fully appreciate that they may be victims of the mistakes of previous owners. In this case, neither side in the dispute could possibly have infringed on the other deliberately. The dispute is really about re-establishing the right boundaries.

The Realities of Managing Boundary Disputes

Claims of infringement need high standards of proof. The only way to resolve a boundary dispute is with a survey and a proper historical title check called an Identification Survey. Engage expert support and get the facts right. It will save you a lot of time, frustration and money.

A Registered Cadastral Surveyor is the only professional who can assist you with a boundary dispute & boundary identification.

Solutions if a Boundary Dispute Arises:

 If you have carried out an Identification Survey & discovered that either your improvements (e.g. House, shed, wall etc.) encroach onto your neighbours land or your neighbours improvements encroach onto your land then rather than demolition or building modification you should consider a Boundary Re-Alignment.

Boundary Re-Alignments require a Town Planning approval, a fresh survey to mark the newly amended boundaries & potentially the need to engage a Valuer to value the land required to be swapped from one neighbour to the other.

The costs involved can either be shared appropriately or often the encroaching party may pay all or the majority of professional fees involved.

Need Property Title Experts in Queensland?

Arnold Development Consultants offer complete and expert guidance and professional planning and land surveying services to help resolve title disputes and identify your boundaries. Contact us online or ring your nearest office for any help you need.

With over 50 years of identifying & creating new boundaries Arnolds are your first choice for land surveying throughout Queensland & Northern New South Wales.