Do You Need a Surveyor to Settle a Fencing Boundary Dispute?

Posted on: 31 May 2018

Fencing disputes between neighbours may seem like small stuff, but they can turn into a big deal. While many disputes are about the type of fencing you or your neighbour want or its cost, some problems arise from the planned location of the shared fence. For example, you may talk to your neighbour about putting up a new fence only to find that neither of you can agree on the boundary line that divides your two properties, where the fence would stand. This can lead to a tricky impasse that leaves you without a fence and with a rapidly deteriorating relationship with your neighbour.

If you just can't agree a boundary line between you, then it may be time to get expert help from a land surveyor.

Getting the Official Line

It doesn't matter if you are totally convinced that you are right about your boundary line. If your neighbour disagrees with you, then there's probably nothing you can do to convince them to change their mind. If you get to this stage, then it's worth getting an official assessment of the boundary between your homes by hiring a land surveyor. Once the surveyor reports on the line's legal location, then you and your neighbour know where you both stand.

The Boundary Dispute Process

You can't simply hire a surveyor and then give your neighbour a copy of the survey report. There is a specific process to follow in boundary disputes that require mediation from a surveyor.

Typically, you need to give your neighbour a formal Boundary Notice of your intention to hire a surveyor. Once your neighbour gets this, they can peg out the line as they sees it and/or hire their own surveyor. If this doesn't happen during a set time, usually 30 days, then you can go ahead and get your surveyor in.

Who Pays For the Survey?

Payment may depend on the surveyor's final ruling on the line's location. Typically, you and your neighbour share the survey costs. However, if your neighbour has pegged out their line and the surveyor agrees with this location, then you may have to cover all the costs.

Having a formal survey may give you both closure on a boundary line dispute; however, some people may not accept the survey's findings. It's worth talking to your surveyor about what to do next if your neighbour ultimately refuses to accept the official boundary line. If this happens, you may have to go through a mediation or court process.