Mon | Jun 21, 2021

Help, I am buying a property with an encroachment!

Published:Monday | August 31, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Craig Francis

Good day, readers. This week, we will respond to a question from a reader. However, first, I would like to thank Mr Leslie B. Mae for filling the column inches for the last two weeks.

Good day Mr Francis,

I am planning to buy a property in Portland, but after the land was surveyed, I was told the property has a very small encroachment and it is as long as the length of your longest finger.

It was explained that the owner of the land has to be contacted and, hopefully, an agreement can be made to buy the piece of land. I am a first-time buyer, so all this is new to me.

Can you tell me if the owner of the land agrees to sell roughly how much can that small piece be sold for and roughly how long could it take to sort out a title? I would be ever so grateful if you could shed some light on my concerns.

Kind regards


Good day P.W.,

Your description of the extent of the amount of encroachment brought a smile to my face, but it also brought questions to my mind.

You said the land was surveyed. What type of survey was it? Was it a surveyor's report that showed the encroachment? What is it that is causing the encroachment on the neighbouring

property? Is it a building or is it a dividing fence?

Despite the absence of that information, I will respond to your queries as best as possible.

You have made it clear that the property that you intend to buy has something on it that is encroaching on the adjoining property. However, before you venture into trying to acquire the adjoining property, I would recommend the fixing of the encroachment as this would be the most economical thing to do in terms of time, effort, and bureaucracy.


encroachment extent


If the extent of the encroachment is as you describe it, it certainly would be easier to have the encroachment corrected. If it is a section of the building that is encroaching, then removing that section may be the easiest route. If it is a fence, then removing the fence may also be the easiest route.

If you are going to use the services of a lending agency to purchase the property, it will not undertake the purchase of a property with an encroachment problem.

This will mean that before you can purchase the property, all the required work to correct the encroachment is done before the lending agency will undertake the loan.


purchasing the land


However, if you decide that you want to purchase the section of land that is being encroached on, then there are several steps to be taken. You would need the services of an attorney to prepare a sales agreement and guide you through the whole purchasing of the strip of land.

You would have to get that section of the property surveyed by a commissioned land surveyor who would prepare a diagram, which would be sent to the National Land Agency for approval. This would take approximately 90 days.

When this is returned to you, you would take it to your attorney, who would then make the title application.

This process of title application can take six months to a year, all things being equal.

As to the value of the property, you would have to employ the services of a land valuator, who would be able to prepare a valuation report for you telling you the value of the property in question.

I feel compelled to tell you, however, that all these things that you speak of are things that need to be done by the vendor of the property and not by you the purchaser. I suggest you involve a trained professional in land and property dealings - either an attorney or a realtor - to guide you in this process. Also, as a first-time buyer, why are you getting involved with such a complicated deal?

I hope I was able to help you. All the best in your endeavours for property ownership.

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 or his Facebook page Precision Surveying Service.