What are my responsibilities regarding my dividing fence?
The response to Joan Latty, our guest columnist last week, has been tremendous. I promise that she will be back in the near future. This week I will respond to a question from a reader.
Good Day Mr Francis:
Could you help me with a problem:
A recent surveyor's report shows that my neighbour is encroaching on my property. They did their home improvement while I was away from the area for a time. I have already approached her about it and she seemed somewhat aware that she did wrong. I promised to email her a copy of my report and she wants to know what I was proposing, I guess by way of settling. I am not too keen on court action and would really only want for her to stand the cost of the new survey and the new title that has to be issued to redefine the boundaries.
What are my real options?
The situation in which you find yourself owing to the encroachment visited upon you by your neighbour, even though through no fault of your own, has serious implications for you. The implications are simply that you will be unable to dispose of your property, if the intended purchaser will require a mortgage to acquire it; also, you will be unable to use your property as collateral for a loan with this encroachment.
Now to the questions as to what your real options are. The first real, and some would consider this harsh, option would be to have your neighbour demolish the section of her building that has violated your boundary and 'invaded' your property. This would bring back your property to a state where there is no longer an encroachment and thus your problem would be solved. The next and maybe more palatable option is to transfer a portion of your property affected by the encroachment to her. This will require that you engage the services of a commissioned land surveyor and an attorney. The surveyor will need to prepare a diagram for the portion of land you wish to transfer and sell to your neighbour. So a plan would be prepared to show what your property now looks like with the section for sale/transfer, 'cut off'. Also, a plan showing the area for sale/transfer needs to be prepared. When these plans are approved by the National Land Agency, you should take them to your attorney to complete the process of the transfer/sale of the portion of land you plan to sell to your neighbour. The attorney would instruct you as to all the other steps that need to be taken in the process.
I must commend you, however, for the approach that you have taken, which is one of peace, understanding and non-confrontational. I hope this was able to help you, N.D. All the best in your situation.
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