Will a Land Registry-compliant map define the boundary of my house?
When I sell, what is the correct procedure to ensure an accurate boundary?
The correct approach and what is considered best practice is to have a ground truth survey of the plot of ground conducted.
I am preparing a map for the sale of a semi-detached house. Is the correct procedure to get a Land Registry-compliant map from the Ordnance Survey and outline the boundary with a coloured pen? What is the recommended colour, and is the boundary inside the coloured line or to the outside of the line?
It depends what you intend to use the map for. To create a map that may be used for registration purposes it is indeed correct to obtain a Land Registry-compliant map from the Ordnance Survey of Ireland. But simply applying a red pen without any further consideration will most likely lead to unnecessary issues at some point into the future, be it for you and or the future purchaser.
Likewise, if you wish to create a map of the property that precisely and accurately reflects the legal boundaries then you should refrain from lining a map without first conducting a ground truth survey (GTS) of the plot and verifying all within. However, should you wish to compile a map that generally shows the plot for illustrative purposes then what you describe may be fit for purpose.
Ordnance Survey Land Registry-compliant maps clearly state that “Ordnance Survey maps never show legal property boundaries, nor do they show ownership of physical features”. Therefore you have an impasse, because the map may not actually reflect the area (or all the items within it) that you believe it does.
Another very important document to draw your attention to is the PRA Mapping Guidelines. Appendix 1 covers basic requirements for acceptance of maps in the Land Registry. Section 2.2 states that maps submitted for registration must be “prepared and certified by competent Land Surveyors”. That is no accident.
A legal boundary is a notional line, of no thickness, that is used to distinguish one property from that of another. In practice, a legal boundary is not necessarily a surveying or mapping issue. What physically exists on the ground and is accepted by the parties to it constitutes the actual legal boundary.
The correct approach and what is considered best practice is to have a ground truth survey of the plot of ground conducted. Such a survey will accurately and precisely measure and record the details that do exist, at the time of survey. The boundaries will most likely, save for some scenarios, be vaguely defined by the OS on their Land Registry-compliant maps. However, GTS mapping will reduce your risk, as its accuracy will be in the order of millimetres, unlike the mapping that you refer to.
When lining a map, it also depends on the purpose of the map. If it is a general map, then it may not matter. If it is a map that you propose appending to a contract for sale to depict the exact plot, then it is very important that you do check with your solicitor and have him or her confirm what wording they intend to use in the actual contract when referring to the map. Should the wording in the contract refer to the area on the map as being “outlined in red”, then the red line should be placed around the outside of the area, or alternatively internally if the wording states that. Assuming the area being transferred is the entire of the plot of ground, without any restrictions, then the correct colour is red.
For the avoidance of doubt or confusion, land surveying and geomatics are principally the same profession; however, the latter is the more recent term. Geomatics incorporates traditional land surveying and newer disciplines such as remote sensing and information sciences. – Sarah Sherlock
Sarah Sherlock is a legal-mapping surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland; scsi.ie