Can I put up a fence and force my neighbour to spend on a survey?

Property Clinic: The approach you propose seems rather hostile and inconsiderate

Why not speak to your neighbour and see what you can agree upon? Photograph: iStock

Why not speak to your neighbour and see what you can agree upon? Photograph: iStock

 

Can I put up a fence and force my neighbour to spend on survey if they want to prove where their line is?

When it comes to a (mutual) boundary, there are many things that you need to consider. “Their line” and “my line”, is not the correct approach. The line of (mutual) interest is a line of no thickness that separates one property from that of another. There may (or may not) be a physical feature on the ground too.

To say where the line on the ground is or ought to be, one needs to consider the following information:

1.Your Title Deed(s).

a. What exactly does the parent deed say, ie when the severance line between the two properties was created?

b. What exactly does the deed under which you acquired your interest in the property say?

Ideally, these two (paper boundaries) should confirm the severance line of concern.

2. Are there any physical features on the ground separating the properties, ie the existing physical boundary, and how long are they in situ? Ideally, they should correspond with the items in 1 above.

Consider

3. In circumstances where the property is registered with the Property Registration Authority (PRA), you will need to consider what the folio and file plan suggests. Ideally, they should correspond with the items in 1 and 2.

Determining where things are situated and how they are spatially related necessitates a ground truth survey. These are dedicated surveys conducted using specialist equipment and most typically completed by professional geomatics surveyors.

In circumstances where items 1, 2 and 3 all agree, the mutual severance line is typically not difficult to define. In circumstances where they do not, you will need to tread very carefully because there may be many unknowns. Do not forget your neighbour also has their documents.

Given that your neighbour is situated next to and quite possibly in rather close proximity to you, the approach you propose seems rather hostile and inconsiderate. Depending on your neighbour and how they perceive your intention to unilaterally impose a line on their property, it is best that you do tread cautiously to avoid unnecessary tensions. No one should ever unilaterally impose a mutual boundary without engaging with their neighbour, for it is also their severance line.

Why not speak to your neighbour and see what you can agree upon? It may be the case that (s)he would be only too delighted to see a new fence or hedge in place. If so, you may jointly appoint a geomatics surveyor and have your mutual agreement measured and recorded, forevermore removing any future doubt as to the location of this particular boundary.

Should that not appeal to you, do feel free to steer well clear of your mutual line and place the fence (subject to any planning restrictions that may apply) firmly on your own property and your neighbour should not have any reason to disapprove of what you do.

Sarah Sherlock is a chartered geomatics surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland, www.scsi.ie.

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