Gain Piece of Mind by Updating Your Property Line Survey

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Homeowners go years living comfortably and at the most inopportune moment are shocked to learn that an area of property they once thought to be theirs actually belongs to a neighbour. It could be a few inches – or a few square feet of land – but regardless, it can be a hassle. Perhaps you are already considering updating a property line survey – or a Surveyor’s Real Property Report – but if not, there are a few reasons why you might consider doing so.
 

Building Something New

 
Thinking about adding a new deck to the yard?
Do you want to repair that rotting fence?
Maybe you’re planning on excavating the backyard to put a swimming pool in?  

Whether it’s any of these projects – or even something bigger, like building an addition – you can start by obtaining the existing property line survey to ensure whatever it is you are constructing is located precisely within your property boundaries and complies with municipal bylaws. In fact, municipalities will often expect to see an exact design plan to be sure of this.
 
If something has already been built on your property since the last land survey was completed, then your survey is out of date and you will want to have a licensed land surveyor update the survey, to confirm you are in accordance with bylaws and not encroaching on a neighbour’s property. Your best option in this case is to contact the survey firm who completed the original survey.  If you don’t have a survey then try searching on one of the comprehensive online databases.
 

Selling Your Home

 
If you are considering selling your home, updating your property line survey may bring about a smoother sales process. Not only will you have an up-to-date overview of your property, you will also learn of any existing boundary issues that can become problematic when homebuyers are ready to submit their offer. Furthermore, you will protect yourself from trailing liabilities (resulting from these issues) once you have sold your home.  
 

Avoiding Boundary Disputes

 
Boundary disputes are an unpleasant experience for all involved and they are on the rise in the Greater Toronto Area. A boundary dispute may occur as you are about to begin work on an outdoor building project, especially one requiring a building permit. Oftentimes, they come about more spontaneously. Perhaps your neighbour decided to cut down a tree on the property line – or they’ve built a shed that just happens to be sitting a few feet onto your property; land they thought belonged to them. The most common trigger for boundary disputes, though, is the sale of a neighbouring property.  New owners move in and want to start "making it their own” with new fences, decks, sheds and other structures.

 

Boundary disputes are not necessarily caused by ill intentions – they can result simply from a lack of knowledge. However, these conflicts can create tension and acrimony between you and your neighbours – and can also erupt into drawn-out legal battles. While these instances can be costly and unpleasant, they are usually preventable.

 

Updating your property line survey with a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor (OLS) will help put to rest any potential boundary disputes and also better prepare you for any future plans you have in mind for your home. It is important to remember that any existing land survey – or Surveyor’s Real Property Report – can only be updated by the original firm. If the original firm is no longer available, the easiest way to get an updated property line survey is to contract another licensed OLS to create a new one.

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Protect Your Boundaries Inc. is a licensed member of the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors, and is entitled to provide cadastral surveying services to the public of the Province of Ontario in accordance with the provisions of the Surveyors Act R.S.O. 1990, Chapter S29.

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