Mon | Sep 27, 2021
A Matter of Land

Surveyor’s reports for land without title

Published:Sunday | February 24, 2019 | 12:24 AM
Craig Francis
Craig Francis

I must say thanks to the persons who continue to send letters of commendation and who also continue to ask questions. I crave your continued patience. I’ll get around to some of your questions in short order.

Today, I will look at surveyor’s report for unregistered land in response to questions received about same.

Surveyor’s reports are normally done on properties that have the accompanying certificate of title. We are always keen about ensuring that a title was available to be certain as to who is the owner of the property. However, in many rural areas, lands are bought and sold that have no certificates of title.

The question is asked, can a surveyor’s identification report be done on lands for which no certificate of title exists?

The answer is yes! A surveyor’s report can be done for a property that has no title, suffice that a survey diagram was done a by a commissioned land surveyor and has passed through the checking process at the National Land Agency and approved. This is called a ‘Pre-check’ plan. The land surveyor would then prepare a surveyor’s report from same ‘Pre-check’ plan. However, he would only speak to the boundaries and their agreement or not with the ones on the ‘Pre-check’ plan. the surveyor in his report would also address the fact that the land being shown to the person by the vendor or realtor is or is not the same land for which the “pre-check plan represents. The Report will also address issues relating to encroachments. So despite there being no certificate of tittle for the property a surveyors report can be done once there is a “pre-check” plan. This can either be an individual plot of land or for a lot in a subdivision development where the “pre-check” plan is ready but the splinter titles are not yet issued.

What is an encroachment?

Previously Ihave spoken to the issue of the surveyor having to report whether or not there is any encroachments affecting the subject property for which the Surveyors Identification Report is being done. Encroachment is a term which means “advance beyond proper limits” essentially it means that one person “advances” or violates his boundary limits by building something on the neighbours land or allowing something to hang over the adjoining property boundary. This usually happens when an owner is not aware of his property boundary or does and wilfully chooses to encroach. Note that the encroachment can be either a building or even a dividing fence incorrectly constructed. So it’s best when you are going to do any form of construction, whether walls or other structure to consult a Land Surveyor to ensure that your boundaries are intact and correct so you will not “advance beyond your limits”

I will state a common practice of many persons that causes them to encroach on the road reservation. Many lots in a subdivision development at a road intersection normally have an angled side (splay). However, instead of constructing their walls to conform to the boundary, many persons just build right-angle walls, ignoring the splays and thus encroaching on the road boundary.

This must not be done, so please consult a land surveyor to identify your boundaries to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Also, if you are allowed to construct a building on the boundary, be aware of the fact that you cannot have your eaves (edge of roof) hanging over your neighbour’s property. Bay windows are sometimes the culprit, especially on multi-level buildings, and the upstairs windows sometimes encroach.

Keep sending your questions and comments.

Until next time, walk good!

n Craig Francis is a commissioned land surveyor and managing director of Precision Surveying Services Ltd. Email feedback to or make queries to