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When do I need a Boundary Survey?

Sep 29, 2022


In this week’s Property Surveying blog post, we are going to be looking at boundary surveying, boundary disputes and boundary determinations.

Here at Stokemont, one of the most common services our surveyors undertake on a weekly basis is boundary surveying. 

Over the years, we have seen all different types of boundary disputes, from your conventional terraced property, to your detached house to land, commercial and even 14 century churches.

In that time, there have been a number of repetitive and key characteristics that we believe forms the basis of the majority of the boundary disputes that we handle.

In this blog post, we are going to be taking a look at these, in the hopes of fully advising you and hopefully aiding you in avoiding the professional input and need for a boundary survey.

Minor Dispute

The first typical characteristic that the majority of boundary disputes have,  is some form of minor dispute or issue.

This can be as simple as one neighbour misinterpreting or misunderstanding where the boundary is. With that interpretation then leading to some form of interaction with the boundary line, such as replacing a fence, removing vegetation or building some form of wall up to or alongside of it.

None Related Disputes

Another typical issue that we have seen throughout the years with boundary disputes is there is often a non relation issue or dispute that gets wrapped up into the matter. 

Here at Stokemont, we underrated that for many of us our property is our most prized financial possession, furthermore for many of us it is also the largest asset we own.

Having a neighbour interact or adjust a property boundary can easily become a quick bone of contention and can often snowball into a larger dispute.

If indeed there is a backlog of dispute between the particular neighbouring owner, we would advise that you attempt to air this out and resolve it directly with the neighbour first, ideally not using the boundary dispute or the boundary surveys input as a vessel to combat historic neighbourly issues.

Construction Work

Another typical lead up to any boundary dispute is construction works. The interesting element about construction work is that it can be both historic or planned.

If it is indeed planned, in many cases the neighbouring owner would have applied for planning approval through the local authority website. The owner who reviews this will take issues in the way that the plans have been prepared or how they set out the boundary line.

This can often lead to a boundary dispute in the making, with many owners wanting to take the first step to stop or prevent any planned interaction with the boundary itself. Conversely, if the construction works have taken place in the past and have interacted with the boundary line. The owner who has instructed the boundary surveyor will want to ensure that the true and proper boundary line is reinstated and restored thereby ensuring that their properties boundary line is not detrimentally moved, changed or adjusted.

Replacing Fences

By far the most common and typical lead up to a boundary dispute is one owner replacing fences. In England and Wales it is not uncommon for adverse weather especially in the winter months for fences to be blown out of locality, blown down in their entirety.

What can often start as a well planned replacement of a defective fence, can quickly lead to a boundary dispute.

In many cases to their credit, a fencer will try and undertake a job in the most time and cost effective way possible.

This will often mean that they will work around any obstacles on site, often meaning that fences will meander or run off their plane. With the pure aim of making the overall job more straightforward.

Unfortunately, while the intent is sound, the outcome can often be disastrous.

Not only will the boundary line or boundary separation, effectively be moved. It will quickly result in tensions between neighbours becoming raised and can often be the starting point on where the boundary used to be, where it should lie and ultimately what should be done.

New Ownership

Another typical boundary issue and lead up to a boundary dispute that we see is new ownership.

In many cases a new property owner will want to go through a course of renovation and upgrade. This is rarely restricted to the demise of the property itself.

 If indeed the new owner is planning on renovating and updating gardens this can in many cases include fences to aid the aesthetics of the new garden.

This will quickly kick in to the point that we have discussed above, and in many cases a well considered plan. Can often become a dispute in waiting, for the neighbouring owner who will likely have a different perspective and position on where the boundary line will be.

Our biggest advice here at Stokemont with any boundary matter, whether it is a potential boundary issue, or a genuine bona fide boundary issue.

Speak to Your Neighbour

We would advise that this is done well in advance of speaking to surveyors and certainly definitely in advance of instructing surveyors.

In many cases neighbourly discussion can go a long way to resolve issues. It is also worth noting that some owners will simply take the view of conceding to the position, in the mere attempt and effort to avoid the professional cost and legal procedure that can come with boundary disputes.

If all else fails, with neighbourly discussions proving fruitless. Here at Stokemont we would advise that you open decisions with an experienced boundary surveyor sooner rather than later. The aim should be to ensure that you get a cost and time effective service. While also ensuring that you get a neutral boundary surveyors report that best sets out that bounty surveyors opinion on the matter.

If you would like to discuss boundary surveying matter with our experienced and qualified boundary surveyors and RICS property measures. Please feel free to give us a call today, alternatively you can pop us an email we would be more than happy to assist and advise you.

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