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A Matter of Land | Help! My boundary line overlaps with my neighbour’s

Published:Friday | October 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMCraig Francis
Craig Francis
A woman looks at a make-shift fence which marks the boundary of her property.

Good day, readers. Today, we respond to another question from a reader.

Greetings Mr Francis,

I read your articles every week that it is published and I have learnt a lot from it. I thank you for diligently doing this public service as I benefit a lot from them.

I never thought I would need to write you, however, recent events have now forced me to.

I bought a property in a town of a rural community I had a surveyor's report done and at the time, everything was all right.

I proceeded to erect my fence and also to construct a commercial building on the property. My problems started recently when the adjoining property, that is unfenced, was taken over by someone and they had a surveyor's report done.

That report says that I am encroaching on this neighbouring property.

I was flabbergasted and livid at my surveyor as I had done the right things in acquiring the property.

Anyway, to my surprise, when I saw the report for the adjoining property, it mentions something about some overlap of the title plans.

Can you explain to me how this is possible, and what do I do to fix the problem?



Good day GB,

I thank you for your question and also for your kind words and continued support of The Sunday Gleaner's A Matter of Land.

Your situation, though uncommon, is not novel. This situation you are having appears to be one where the common boundary lines that are to be exactly that, common, are different.

The common boundary between adjoining properties should have the same distances and directions. This simply means that the boundary notes on your title plan and that on the adjoining title plan for the common boundary should be exactly the same or within a very small acceptable tolerance.

However, in some cases, there is divergence, and the boundaries either overlap, or have a separation.

When this is discovered, it has to be fixed so that the boundaries are congruent as they should be.

The overlap that you are now having with the adjoining property has to be sorted out.

The first thing you will be wondering is who must adjust their boundary to comply with which title plan.

This is pretty easy. The older title is deemed to be the correct one and has the weight of being correct because it was first done, any subsequent plan should have conformed to what was already established.

Note that you would refer to the first title plan. So once the determination is made by scrutinising both titles, and the older is determined, then the newer title will have to have its boundary changed to conform to the adjoining older title plan.

The person with the newer title plan will have to engage the services of a commissioned land surveyor to prepare a new pre-check plan, which will have to form the new title plan for their property.

There may be some redress that can be had from the Titles Office to assist with the fixing of the problem, so I suggest that you make contact with that office as well to make them aware of the problem.

Please also take along a copy of the surveyor's report that shows the overlap.

This is a fixable problem and I hope that you will have it dealt with in short order.

It is that time again when we will be conducting the 'A Matter of Land' presentations. If you are part of a company or organisation that would like us to come make the presentation at your place of work, church, or other entity, please contact me.

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.