Our neighbours refuse to recognise our land boundary, what can we do?
Property Clinic: Your neighbours have consulted a solicitor, it’s time you did too
The boundary as indicated on the Land Registry map is not conclusive. Photograph: iStock
I have an issue with a boundary. Our property has a folio number and is registered with the Land Registration Authority freehold since 1988. Our neighbouring property is unregistered. The site was marked out in 2004 and was overlapped on our site (boundary is part of the existing land drain viewed on old historic maps 1900-1927). The site was marked out by professional site land GMS surveyors, in accordance with the Land Registry map. Our neighbours refuse to recognise these and have consulted solicitors, I would be very grateful if you could give me advice on this matter.
You state that your site is registered with the Land Registry, ie Property Registration Authority Ireland (PRAI), and was marked out in accordance with the Land Registry map. However, the boundary as indicated on the Land Registry map is not conclusive.
If you do not have your title deeds, you should apply to the Land Registry for a copy of the Instrument which contains the documents originally submitted with your application for registration. These documents should contain the deed of transfer or assignment which includes a description of the extent of the property and/or a deed map. This description and/or deed map provides the legal interpretation of the extent of your site, that is, the boundary of the land that was the intention of the parties to the transfer or assignment. A chartered geomatics (land) surveyor could interpret this information and mark out the boundary accordingly on site.
The land drain you refer to may be significant. Any physical feature, including a wall, fence, hedge or land drain, that marks the limit or extent of land in the possession of a landowner is significant, in particular if it is, or had been, accepted as the boundary of the lands in the possession of the respective land owners for several years.
As your neighbours have consulted their solicitor, you will also need to consult your solicitor and provide him/her with all relevant details, preferably set out clearly, with explanatory notes, on a map prepared by your geomatics surveyor. The following information is relevant:
- The boundary of your site as described/shown on your deed or deed map.
- The boundary indicating the extent of the site in your possession. This should indicate any physical feature, which may determine this boundary. The land drain you refer to may coincide with this boundary.
- The boundary as indicated on the Land Registry map.
- The location of the boundary as claimed by your neighbour.
- Any other relevant information.
- A short report prepared by your geomatics surveyor.
If your deed or deed map supports your position, you have a strong case and you may be able to reach agreement amicably with your neighbour. If you are in possession of more land than indicated by the deed or deed map, your solicitor will advise if you have a case for adverse possession.
Patrick Shine is a chartered geomatics surveyor, a chartered civil engineer and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie