Property Boundary Issues: 3 Features that Don't Indicate Ownership

Posted on: 29 March 2018

Property boundary issues can brew serious conflict between the involved owners. In complicated situations, the buyers drag each other in court, and one may end up being forced to tear down structures and features. Before developing a piece of land, it is critical to get the land surveyed. Land surveyors will indicate the boundary lines to ensure that any structures you build are within your land. Don't assume that if you put up certain features, they will automatically outline ownership and the next property owner will respect your decision. The following are some of the features that cannot be used to determine ownership of property.

Fencing structures

Have you bought a piece of property that is fenced? Or do you intend to enclose your land and outline your boundary? If so, understand that your fence cannot be used to determine ownership unless if it is installed on your property. If you put up a fence past the boundary line, your neighbor can sue you for violating the legal boundary laws. If it is ascertained that the fencing structure indeed lies beyond your property, you will be forced to tear it down. Imagine the cost of installing a fence and the losses that you will incur after taking it down. So, before you look at a fence and assume it's on your property, ask a land surveyor to verify your assumptions.

Retaining walls

A retaining wall may be a great addition to your property. Most people use retaining walls on the front part of their property, in the garden, and even on the boundary line. If there is a significant height difference on the property line, building a retaining wall can be a tricky affair. That's because it would be hard to determine who will incur the cost of maintaining the land on the top and bottom of the wall. What's more, if the wall surpasses the survey line, your neighbor may cite encroachment and sue you for the structure.

Trees and vegetation

Just because trees have been planted in a line near the end of your property doesn't mean that it is a boundary landmark. Anyone can plant trees and shrubs without consulting a land surveyor. Even if the trees on the land seem to indicate the survey line, don't assume that that's where your property ends. Similarly, do not plant trees on the boundary line with the hope that everyone will view them as a landmark. The trees may be on your neighbor's side, and you may waste resources and energy working on the landscape for your neighbor.

Before you plant trees, erect a retaining wall, or build a fence, make sure that a land surveyor has outlined your property boundaries. Similarly, if you buy land with any of these features, take the time to verify ownership before assuming that they belong to you.

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