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
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land survey was completed, then your survey is out of date and you will want to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
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.