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Whether you are looking to purchase are property or are disputing existing land surrounding your home, you may be wondering how to work out where the boundaries of your property lie. It can in fact be quite difficult to determine the precise position of boundaries, even when referring to the title deeds of your home. When a property in England and Wales is registered with the Land Registry it is usually only registered with general boundaries, which can often mean that you need to discuss agreed boundaries and responsibilities for adjoining walls or fences between neighbours.

There are a few reasons why only general boundaries are given, firstly the title deeds do not often give exact legal boundaries of land or property, owners do not always know precisely where they are and finding out the precise details of boundaries can be expensive and difficult and so in many cases it is left generalised.

As soon as any land or property is registered with the Land Registry, a title plan is created which attempts to be as accurate as possible but is not used to establish exact boundaries and is often only created using the information provided by the owner of the land or property in question. If you are considering a quick sale, you may find that the prospective purchaser requests details of the title deeds, but as already mentioned this cannot always identify precise boundaries. It is also worth noting that the scaling of the title plan is not always precise and therefore measurements between features on the ground may differ from the title deeds themselves.

The legal boundary usually refers to an imaginary line that is uses to define one person’s land or property from that which adjoins it. It does not usually have any specific thickness or identified on Ordnance Survey details. If something is referred to as a physical boundary, this is something which can be seen which often separates the land or property, such as a party wall, hedge or fence. The legal boundary will usually follow the physical boundary but it is possible that it will run either side of the physically defining feature such as the wall or fence.

If you are looking to try and fix more precise boundaries, you can send a more precise plan showing the exact details of the boundary line to the Land Registry although a qualified surveyor is needed to draw up precise plans and these must meet specific requirements that are detailed in the Land Registration Act 2002. You will also need to complete an application form and send a fee for determining the boundary.

However if you devise a mutual agreement with the neighbour of the adjoining land or property it is possible to create a formal boundary agreement together and request that this be noted in your individual registers. This can be used to officially record the agreement for future purposes but does not determine precise details of boundary lines on the title plan.

by Cormac Henderson

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