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Where's the boundary?

  • 03-06-2020 7:14am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 19


    Ì bought a house two years ago, and the land registry map supplied by the solicitor shows our property with a red outline of the boundary, but it's at a scale of 1:1000, so it gives little detail.
    I need to establish if a back garden wall separating me from my neighbour is built entirely on their side of the boundary, and also to double check that every inch on my side of the wall is in fact my property.
    There's the remains of an old fence post in the ground entirely inside my side of the wall. My worry is that if the boundary ran down the middle of that fence post, then my neighbour owns almost a foot inside my side of the wall.
    I want to put up a boundary fence, and I want to put it as close as possible to the wall but don't want to be told that I have no right to put it up there...
    The neighbour, for some reason, is very touchy about the whole thing.
    Should there be a very detailed map available? And if there's not, what do you think is the best course of action for putting up my fence?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,992 ✭✭✭✭Lumen


    JackMN wrote: »
    Should there be a very detailed map available?

    No. The only way to get a detailed map is to pay a surveyor to produce one. And then it's only an qualified opinion paid for by one party (unless you jointly commission the survey).

    I got this done by a semi-retired and very experienced surveyor; the process and his stories of boundary investigations were fascinating.
    JackMN wrote: »
    And if there's not, what do you think is the best course of action for putting up my fence?

    Figure out an amicable solution.

    Under no circumstances do you ever want to take a boundary dispute to court. I have some familial experience with land law cases, and they're very, very expensive, long and damaging to the mental health of everyone concerned.

    Personally, I prefer to try to be excessively reasonable in these matters, on the basis that everyone is less reasonable that they think they are. This runs the risk of showing weakness to pure assholes, but IMO there are fewer of those in the world than basically reasonable people who have lost the run of themselves.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19 JackMN


    Thanks for that. You've identified my quandry: if I bring out a surveyor, they are most likely going to make the assumption (reasonable, I hope) that the edge of the neighbour's wall is the boundary. But that is just an opinion, right? It means nothing without the neighbour's consent?

    I'm hoping that the likelihood of the neighbour owning land inside the wall - on my side - is pretty slim... The wall has been there about 20 years apparently, and there have been shrubs and plants set right against it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,992 ✭✭✭✭Lumen


    JackMN wrote: »
    Thanks for that. You've identified my quandry: if I bring out a surveyor, they are most likely going to make the assumption (reasonable, I hope) that the edge of the neighbour's wall is the boundary. But that is just an opinion, right? It means nothing without the neighbour's consent?

    I'm hoping that the likelihood of the neighbour owning land inside the wall - on my side - is pretty slim... The wall has been there about 20 years apparently, and there have been shrubs and plants set right against it.

    I have exactly this situation - part of my boundary looks to be formed by the wall of a neighbour's shed, but that shed was built well inside their boundary. The surveyor agreed with the neighbour (who has lived here much longer than I have), so when I built my fence I built it leaving a gap to the shed, along the correct (as far as we could tell) historical boundary.

    In any case, the least effort thing you can do is take loads of pictures before you start work, and if you start disturbing things with digging, take more pictures of anything that turns up.

    I would add that the reasonableness ends as soon as your neighbour's plot gets sold to a property developer. At that point you're dealing with people who are professionally aggressive and better armed (with legal advice and experience) than you are. But if you're in any established estate there's less chance of that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,021 ✭✭✭✭Penn


    JackMN wrote: »
    Ì bought a house two years ago, and the land registry map supplied by the solicitor shows our property with a red outline of the boundary, but it's at a scale of 1:1000, so it gives little detail.
    I need to establish if a back garden wall separating me from my neighbour is built entirely on their side of the boundary, and also to double check that every inch on my side of the wall is in fact my property.
    There's the remains of an old fence post in the ground entirely inside my side of the wall. My worry is that if the boundary ran down the middle of that fence post, then my neighbour owns almost a foot inside my side of the wall.
    I want to put up a boundary fence, and I want to put it as close as possible to the wall but don't want to be told that I have no right to put it up there...
    The neighbour, for some reason, is very touchy about the whole thing.
    Should there be a very detailed map available? And if there's not, what do you think is the best course of action for putting up my fence?

    Chances are no maps are going to be that detailed. Land Registry maps, Ordnance Survey maps etc, particularly for older sites, they only identify property not boundaries (and there are numerous caveats about same on Land Registry/Property Registration Authority Ireland maps and websites). Given the scale of the drawings 1:1,000 means 1mm on the map is 1metre on the ground.

    Generally, the physical boundary which exists on the site, if it's been in place for a significant period of time, that's the boundary. Each side owns to the centre of that boundary (different caveats exist if there are piers on one side, or a ditch immediately on one side). So if there's just a wall, chances are you own to the centre of that wall, and the wall is shared between both you and the adjoining landowner. However the fence post, why it was there etc, complicates things.

    A land surveyor might be able to identify any information which may affect this, such as if any previous land registry maps were submitted with dimensions or exact identifying information about the boundary, historical and existing.

    PRAI:
    I have a dispute with my neighbour over where the boundary lies. Can you tell me who is right?
    No. The Land Registry map is an index map and identifies property, not boundaries. Therefore, we are not in a position to advise.

    Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006
    62.— The following section is substituted for section 85 (description of registered land) of the Act of 1964:

    “85.— (1) Registered land shall be described and identified by reference to the registry maps concerned in such manner as may be prescribed.

    (2) Except as provided by this Act, neither the description of land in a register nor its identification by reference to a registry map is conclusive as to its boundaries or extent.”.

    I'd also recommend reading the SCSI guide to boundaries
    https://www.scsi.ie/documents/get_lob?id=38&field=file
    The red line drawn around a property on the Land Registry map (the Special
    Registration Map (SRM)) only shows the general physical boundary. It does not identify
    whether the legal property boundary runs along the centre of a hedge or along one side
    of it. Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSI) maps are equally unreliable in this regard as these
    show topographical features rather than marking exact property boundaries. So a line
    surrounding the property on the SRM is not necessarily the legal property boundary.
    A Chartered Geomatics Surveyor or a Chartered Surveyor specialising in boundary
    disputes will not only survey the land, check deeds and the plans attached to them,
    but will refer to historical documents and aerial photographs.
    A boundary can change over time for many reasons: a diverted water course, or a
    wooden fence that moves slightly every time it is replaced. The reason for such
    changes is rarely recorded and can lead to disputes, especially if the owner has lost
    the right to move the boundary line back to its original position.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,705 Mod ✭✭✭✭Gumbo


    Have you spoke to the neighbor about it?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,724 ✭✭✭Metric Tensor


    There is unlikely to be any more detail available.

    In essence the boundary is where you and your neighbour agree it is. The problem is getting to said agreement.

    All the advice above is very good. Do your utmost to ensure that you avoid a falling out with the neighbour over a few inches of lawn because it will neither be worth the expense or stress.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19 JackMN


    Talking to the neighbour is the best option for me at the moment. But, I'm completely dependent on them telling the truth - if they say the old post on my side of the fence is the actual boundary, I'm stuck with taking their word for it.

    I notice that our garden shed is set back 6 inches from their wall and is exactly at the location of the old concrete fence post. But that could be pure coincidence.

    I want to put up a fence for privacy. The existing wall is only 1m high. My fear is that if I go too close to their wall, I'll have built on what they claim is their property. If I build 6 inches back from the wall, I've been told that I'm potentially creating an issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,060 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    Good advice above.
    I would build just inside the old fence post line, along the line of the shed and leave a picket gate in it to allow access to what is now a DMZ of either a foot or 6" depending on what I read here..
    You could use it for storage and if the neighbour creates an issue it is his $

    You mention a foot in the first post and the garden shed is talking about 6"

    https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications/adverse-possession-new-law-in-landmark-decision

    Its not clear how long it takes

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