Can a Land Survey Settle Property Disputes?

Land surveying is a specialised service that has a remarkable number of uses. Surveying has a clear function when it comes to purchasing property, planning a future development project, or in the early stages of civil engineering and other large-scale ventures. But sometimes land surveying can serve other purposes.

In the case of property or land disputes, land surveyors are often called upon to provide expert analysis or even to give testimony in court proceedings. Today, let’s take a closer look at the role of the land survey in settling property disputes.

Property Disputes: When and Why?

Most of the time, homeowners spend little time thinking about the exact boundaries of their property. The exception is when selling or purchasing new land or considering additions. As well, a survey may also be requested in certain circumstances by finance companies or banks. While most property owners believe their property extends to an existing fence or tree line, a survey can show otherwise.

Typically, disputes don’t arise until a neighbour attempts to make a change. Perhaps a new resident wants to put in a fence, lay a driveway, or create an addition on their property. These proposed changes may seem to encroach on the neighbours’ adjacent land. In such a situation, a land survey may be required to confirm the true boundaries of each property.

An Easy Answer

Sometimes, there may be existing and up-to-date land surveys or other appropriate documents which can be consulted. This can solve a land dispute problem quite easily. Yet, if changes have been made to a property or documents are not current, a new survey may need to take place. This is where professional, accomplished land surveyors step in. To legally and officially determine property boundaries and settle disputes, an
accredited and trained land surveyor needs to perform the survey.

Adverse Possession Law

A land surveyor can also be instrumental in handling conflicts with respect to adverse possession law. Adverse possession is a property law in Australia which gives ownership to an individual who has been in possession of land for some time, even if that is not their legally owned property. Specific legal requirements are necessary to allow a person to claim adverse possession. In NSW, for instance, an individual must have had continuous possession of the plot of land in question for at least 12 years. The individual claiming adverse possession needs to demonstrate use of the land and an intent to own the property.

A land surveyor can assist in these situations, particularly through consultation or the aid of a “check survey.” The surveyor can then determine the correct, official boundaries of the land using an original survey, if available, and compare their new findings and other considerations to help with solving the conflict. Encroachments might include a fence, driveway, or other feature.

Do You Need to Settle a Property Dispute?

Personal property is one of the most important elements in the life of a family, and is generally their largest investment. It is therefore of utmost importance for homeowners to be fully apprised of the boundaries and details of their property. If you need to solve a land conflict or require other services by a licensed and skilled surveyor, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Leslie & Thompson today.