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A matter of land | Settling a boundary dispute without fuss

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis
Craig Francis
A woman looks at a makeshift fence which marks the boundary of her property.

Good day, readers. Today, I want to share with you the process involved when you have a boundary dispute/disagreement with your neighbour.

I recently had occasion to undertake a survey in a section of an urban community that has titles by description.

This has caused some amount of friction between the two neighbours. I was called in to conduct the survey for one of the landowners and to try and bring a resolution to the matter.

The notices were served on all the adjoining properties as to the date and time of the survey for those with interests in the common boundaries to appear. The neighbour who had the boundary dispute with the subject property's owner was present. The behaviour of the neighbour was appalling.

The surveyor and his assistants were verbally attacked, berated, and disrespected in the vilest manner. So, today, I want to share with everyone what to do when you have an objection to a survey or you find yourself in a boundary dispute/ disagreement.


Surveyors are adjudicators


First, I must point out that despite being employed by a particular person the surveyor is not an advocate for that person, as in the case of an attorney whose job it is to do so.

The surveyor's job is that of a fact finder and an adjudicator. Whatever he finds the facts to be, even if unfavourable to the person who has contracted him, he will present them.

So a land surveyor cannot place or represent a boundary line in a manner favourable to his client in contravention of what the plan, title or facts show, even if it is disadvantageous to his client.

So in a boundary dispute, despite whoever contracts the commissioned land surveyor, it will not mean that he is there to conduct the survey that will be in favour of the person who contracted him.

Instead, the surveyor will be beholden to the laws of the land and the land surveyor's regulations.

So rest assured the surveyor is not there in collusion with the person who hired him/her to disenfranchise you of your property or rights.


Present your land documents


On the day of the survey, you should present to the land surveyor all documents that you have that are related to your property, as documentary evidence that can help to show your interest in your property and help to protect your interest.

On the day of the survey, you should take any land title, diagram, tax receipt, will, deed of gift, or receipt of purchase.

Anything that will show your interest in the property or that can help in the determination of your boundary should be presented.


Notice of Objection


If you are not in agreement of the survey being conducted as it pertains to your boundary at that time, Section 29 of the Land Surveyor Act states:

"Where the survey is undertaken by appointment of the owner of any land then every owner of any land upon whom notice has been served, and any person interested in and affected by the survey of such land, may cause to be served upon the surveyor, before the completion of the survey, notice of objection, in the prescribed form, to such survey.

"Upon service of such notice of objection the surveyor shall not proceed with the survey in so far as it affects' the land in respect of which notice was given until notice of withdrawal, in the prescribed form, is served upon such surveyor."

That's all we have space for this week. Next week, we will continue to look at this matter.

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 Precision Surveying Services.