Help, I have a gully behind my property!
I would like to thank Ainsworth Dick for gracing this column two weeks ago. It was well written and equally well received by the readers and our colleagues alike. This week, I will be dealing with a question from a reader.
Good day Mr Francis,
I want to ask your advice on a matter for which I need advice. I recently acquired a property that is close to a gully. To my understanding, my property boundary stops about 15 feet from the gully bank. For security reasons, I want to build my wall right on the gully bank as I hear that thieves often use it to access persons' homes along the stretch. Can I do this and not breach or encroach?
Concerned new home owner
Your question is a great one as many persons find themselves owning and occupying property where their actual boundary has some vacant land that adjoins it, or like you, has some feature (gully or otherwise) that is some distance away from their actual boundary.
This poses first a security problem for many of these persons as many times, these properties are left unattended and, therefore, the vegetation there becomes very high and wild. It can, therefore, become a canopy that thieves or other unscrupulous miscreants use to carry out acts of crime and other deviant acts. `
Also, with the outbreak of chikungunya, these bushes can be a health hazard as they could be the breeding grounds for mosquitoes and disease-carrying rodents.
However, if you construct anything outside of your registered boundary, you would be encroaching on property that is not your own. What I suggest is first contact your land surveyor and have him establish your back boundary and replace the boundary marks so that you know definitively where your property ends.
Second, construct your back fence on your boundary line to ensure that you are not encroaching on the property behind you.
Third, I suggest you then construct a temporary fence (barb wire, link fence, etc) along where your security concern is. You can construct a chain link fence near the gully to offer you the security you desire.
You can put a gate on your back fence to access the area between your boundary and the gully. Keep the area clean and do some farming on the land. Please ensure that you build no permanent structure on the property.
I hope that I have responded to you satisfactorily. Enjoy your new property!
Keep sending your questions and comments and let's continue to explore A Matter of Land. Until next time, traverse well.
Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. He can be contacted for questions or queries at firstname.lastname@example.org or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Services.