Help with Boundary Problems
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19 Mar 2017 - Boundary Problems
Minor improvements to text of first two sections
Understanding General Boundaries
18 Mar 2017 - Boundary Problems
Minor updates
Conveyance Deeds and Deed Plans
18 Mar 2017 - Boundary Problems
Minor updates
Boundary Descriptions
18 Mar 2017 - Boundary Problems
Minor updates
Boundary Dispute Resolution methods
18 Mar 2017 - Boundary Problems
Reorganise, update and partially re-write the page
Boundaries: The Essentials
05 Dec 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add section "A property barrister's view"
Find a Boundary Surveyor
04 Dec 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add link to Nicholas Isaac's article to reinforce the message that
"Land Registry plans do not show where the boundary is."
Land Registry's Title Plans
04 Dec 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add section "A property barrister's view"
Investigating Boundaries
04 Dec 2016 - Boundary Problems
Update page "Site Index"
Site Index
04 Dec 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add section "Boundary Disputes and Harassment"
Psychology of neighbours in boundary disputes
26 Sep 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add three Frequently Asked Questions:
Does my Land Registry title plan define my boundaries?
Can I use the title plan to work out the exact position of my boundary?
Surely title plans must be right?
Land Registry Title Plans
15 Jul 2016 - present page (site home)
Add new PDF paper to FREE DOWNLOADS areaWhy Setting out your boundary from a title plan is WRONG
05 Jul 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add panel headed "HOW BEST TO TACKLE A SMALL DISPUTE?":
Boundary Dispute Resolution Methods
26 Jun 2016 - Boundary Problems
Add paragraph to the section headed "Mediation":
"It is in principle unsound to determine the true position of a boundary through the process of mediation. It would, however, be legitimate for the parties to a dispute to negotiate (through mediation) a settlement to a dispute that involves knowingly altering the position of a boundary (and taking the appropriate legal steps to record that alteration) in return for some concession by the party that benefits from the movement of the boundary."
Boundary Dispute Resolution Methods
06 Jan 2016 - Boundary Problems
Re-write the first part of the page to strengthen the message that Land Registry's title plans are not to be relied upon for the exact line of the boundary.
Land Registry's Title Plans
REMOVED Content
REPLACEMENT Content
26 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Minor corrections.
Using Ordnance Survey maps
26 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Minor corrections.
Investigating Boundaries
26 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Add section "When the Party Wall, etc Act 1996 applies.
Add section "Objecting to your neighbour's planning application.
Other minor additions.
Other neighbour disputes
26 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Add two references to the Party Wall Act 1996.
Walls and boundaries
26 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Remove referencves to the repealed Propery Misdescriptions Act 1991.
Expand the section on the Law of Property Act 1925.
Expand the section on the Party Wall Act 1996.
Glossary
13 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Six additional and one extended definitions of terminology.
Glossary
13 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Three additional paragraphs plus sundry re-wordings to strengthen the message
Documentary Evidence for Boundaries
12 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Mutliple re-wordings to strengthen the message
Multiple updates to external links
Land Registry's Title Plans
05 Dec 2015 - Boundary Problems
Expand page with new sections on
- Cultural factors - a culture of ignorance
- Cultural factors - the lack of a regulatory authority
- Cultural factors - Obstacles to dispute resolution
Causes of boundary disputes
30 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
Multiple re-wordings / clarifrications.
Conveyance Deeds and Deed Plans
25 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
Expand/rephrase "It will also help if you can find your way behind your neighbour's complaint to identify what is the real problem that needs addressing."
Expand/rephrase "" [eg. his drive is not wide enough to allow him to park a car beside his Victorian house - but there weren't any cars in Victorian times!]"
Neighbour psychology & boundaries
22 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
New section on "Expert Evaluation".
New section on "Giving the settlement permanence".
Change references from "Adjudicator to Land Registry" to "Land Registration division of the Property Chamber (First-tier Tribunal)".
Additional material on the "RICS Neighbour Disputes Service".
Additional thoughts on mediation.
Sundry further corrections and additions.
Boundary Dispute Resolution Methods
22 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
Rename page from "Boundary Definitions of Registered and Unregistered Land" to "Boundary Descriptions"
Add new section "Historical Context";
Substantial additional material in "Making and Describing New Boundaries" section;
Multiple small revisons elsewhere.
Boundary Descriptions
22 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
Boundaries: The Essentials
Replace, where appropropriate, the words "define" and "definition" and their derivatives with the words "describe" and "description" and their derivatives.
Increase by four lines of text the strapline, or subheading, at the top of the page:
Land Registry does not define property boundaries
but is required by law to show a general line of the boundary
and is required by regulations to use an Ordnance Survey map on which to do so.
That Ordnance Survey map is prevented by law from
ascertaining, altering, or affecting property boundaries.

Boundaries: The Essentials
22 Nov 2015 - Boundary Problems
Agreed and Determined Boundaries:
Update photograph of survey instrument.
Added text "To overcome this limitation, Land Registry will accept determined boundary applications that are based on Ordnance Survey's National Grid coordinates."
and altered text "In spite of the above limitation, determined Determined boundaries have a lot of potential ..." near to end of page.
Agreed and Determined Boundaries
18 Jun 2015 - Boundary Problems
Additional Frequently Asked Questions:
Buying a house: How do I check the boundaries?
Buying a house: Searches reveal some of the land is unregistered.
Buying a house: Searches reveal the vendor is adversely possessing some of the land.
Frequently Asked Questions
08 Mar 2015 - Boundary Problems
Revisions to:
Title Plans show only general boundaries;
What does a title plan show?;
General Boundaries at Road Frontages;
all on the page:
Land Registry's Title Plans
REMOVED Content
REPLACEMENT Content
ADDED Content
31 Jan 2015 - present page (site home)
Add new PDF paper to FREE DOWNLOADS area - "10 Things About Boundaries Every Landowner Should Know"
07 Jan 2015 - present page (site home)
Replace banner with "GOT A QUESTION ABOUT YOUR BOUNDARY FENCE?"
25 Apr 2014 - Boundary Problems
Numerous small improvements to the text, and addition of section titled "Common shortcomings in boundary descriptions", affecting pages:
Boundary Definitions of Registered and Unregistered Land
Common shortcomings in boundary descriptions

There was a time when property boundaries in England were described using the metes and bounds system. I have seen the system still in use in parts of Scotland. The metes and bounds system fell out of use when vendors sold building plots that were not yet demarcated on the ground but would later be fenced by the purchaser: thus there was nothing physical for the vendor to describe.

1.   Thus, the first common shortcoming in boundary descriptions is a failure to describe what physical features mark the boundaries. If the conveyance plan (or the transfer plan) shows that the boundary follows a linnear feature, and if there is no description of what that line on the plan represents, then you will not know whether, for example, the boundary is related to the hedge that you see there now or whether the line on the plan was referring to a fence that once marked the boundary but was left to rot away after the hedge was later planted. If the hedge had been planted at any distance up to 3 feet (0.9 m) away from fence, then the distance is too small for you to discern from a 1:2500 scale plan whether the line is or is not consistent with the centre of the hedge that you now see. A simple description - even if only the single word fence (or hedge, as appropriate) was used to annotate the line on the plan then we would be so much wiser as to what to look for as the boundary feature.

2.   The second common shortcoming in boundary descriptions is the use of an Ordnance Survey map as a means of describing property boundaries. Whilst it is convenient to blame the decline in boundary descriptions upon the sale of undemarcated building plots, the decline started earlier than that when vendors discovered that Ordnance Survey's large scale maps, which started to become available in the 1840's, made a convenient base map for the description of properties offered for sale. Obviously, those vendors had not read Section 12 of the Ordnance Survey Act 1841. If so then they surely would not have used, for the purpose of describing property boundaries, a map that is prohibited in law from showing property boundaries.

In the 1840's Ordnance Survey maps were the last word in accuracy: from today's perspective they lack the accuracy needed to describe the exact position of a boundary. Ordnance Survey is more than 200 years old and its mapping accuracy has improved over time, yet in an interview published in the March 2014 edition of Modus (the monthly journal of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Dr Vanessa Lawrence the Director General of Ordnance Survey is quoted as saying: "Our topogrpahical information is accurate to within 40 cm ..." This is surely still not accurate enough to adequately describe the exact line of a property boundary.

There are other pitfalls that bedevil vendors' attempts to use Ordnance Survey maps as the basis for boundary descriptions:

  • Out of date Ordnance Survey maps describe what was once on the ground and are an unsuitable basis for describing what is on the ground at a later date on which the boundary is created and described;
  • Vendors are capable of misinterpreting what is represented by a particular line on an Ordnance Survey map, which will be a problem if the boundary is linked to the line that has been misinterpreted;
  • Copies made of Ordnance Survey maps (for example, by tracing, photocopying or scanning) may be distorted versions of the original and this may cause inaccurate depiction of the land and of the boundary.
In spite of all these pitfalls, vendors still resort to using Ordnance Survey maps as the basis for their boundary descriptions. It is not surprising that boundary descriptions based on Ordnance Survey maps are frequently ambiguous.

3.   The third common shortcoming in boundary descriptions is the recycling of an architect's design plan for use as a conveyance plan or as a transfer plan. It is of course preferable for the conveyance plan or transfer plan to be based on a survey of what was actually built, because design changes occur between the drawing board and the completion of building works, or because difficulties that are encountered on site require changes from what was designed, or because of errors of interpretation by the builders. Of course, it costs more to survey and map what was built than it costs to recycle the design plans, so it is understandable if regrettable that developers have recycled their design plans for use as conveyance plans. The results of this practice can often mislead someone who is trying to understand where the boundary is located.

4.   The fourth common shortcoming in boundary descriptions, and the one that is the most worrying for the future of property ownership, is the practice of transferring registered land using a TR1 form and a title number. The implication of this practice is that the title plan serves as the transfer plan, and the title plan shows only the general position of the boundary. Reference again to Section 60 of the Land Registration Act 2002 and to Section 12 of the Ordnance Survey Act 1841 demonstrates that the title plan does not show the exact line of the boundary.

Why is this worrying? Consider the following:

  • There is a trend for the persons or organisations that hold the pre-registration title deeds for registered land to take the view that as title to registered land is guaranteed then there is no purpose in retaining those pre-registration title deeds. This has resulted in the destruction of the pre-registration title deeds for an unknown but significant proportion of registered titles.
  • When Land Registry receives an application for the first registration of a title, sometimes it makes and files a copy of the significant pre-registration title deed or deeds used in support of that application. Sometimes Land Registry fails to make and file such a copy. Thus there is no certainty, in the event of the accidental loss or the deliberate destruction of the pre-registration deeds, that Land Registry will be able to supply a copy of the pre-registration deed that contains the authoritative description of the boundaries.
The implication of this is that we are marching slowly but surely towards a situation in which no vendor will be able to tell prospective purchasers the exact location of the boundaries of the land that is offered for sale.

08 Apr 2014 - Jon Maynard Boundaries
Update "Some past cases" list, affecting pages:
Transfer Plan
Expert Witness
Single Joint Expert
08 Apr 2014 - Jon Maynard Boundaries
Update panel with "adjectives used to describe" Jon Maynard's expert reports, affecting pages:
Expert Witness and
Single Joint Expert
06 Mar 2014 - Boundary Problems
Update the telephone number for the RICS Consumer Helpline, affecting page:
Home
06 Mar 2014 - Boundary Problems
Change text and images to reflect changes to the ricsfirms.com "Find a surveyor" web page, affecting page:
Find a Boundary Surveyor
REMOVED Content
REPLACEMENT Content
04 Mar 2014 - Jon Maynard Boundaries
Add map to show operational areas and density of clients, affecting page:
About Us
26 Jan 2014 - Boundary Problems
Update external links to Ordnance Survey web site ref. "A joint statement with Land Registry", affecting pages:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Using Ordnance Survey maps
Land Registry Title Plans