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Interpreting Boundaries from Title Deeds

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  • Admin
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  • legal
  • Posted date:
  • 20-09-2019
Interpreting Boundaries from Title Deeds

Have you ever wondered how people are able to identify legal boundary from the title deeds? 

It can be mind-boggling to a normal person how that comes into play but in reality, the professionals use an Ordnance Survey map to help them translate the landscape into the mapping that we use today. 

The Ordnance Survey map features a line that shows that a certain feature existed in that position as per the limitations at the time of the survey.

measuring boundary line

Although the actual position of the physical features that show the general position of the legal boundary or the extent of the occupied land can be determined through a ground inspection, the precise position on a plan can vary. You need to know that the extent to which the precise position of the physical feature as recorded on the plan largely depends on the accuracy of the original survey used to create the plan. 

In fact, the mapping variations are acceptable as surveys are created within defined tolerances. Therefore, whether you are using the most detailed surveys created with the most modern survey instruments or the large-scale Ordnance Survey mapping, you should expect some slight variations.

Nevertheless, according to the case law, the actual position of the legal boundary is subject to the relevant pre-registration conveyance. It can also depend on the transfer as a whole or of the plan. In occasions where the plan is not clear enough to enable a reasonable layperson to determine the position of the boundary, the court can choose to use the extrinsic evidence including the physical features on the ground. The court’s process is applicable irrespective of whether or not the purpose of the plan is for identification. 

However, it is worth noting that the process of determining the precise position of your boundary is not straightforward as there are legal and technical challenges that you must overcome. Some of these challenges include inaccurately quoted dimensions in title deeds, inadequate descriptions of the boundaries in title deeds, inaccurate or unclear conveyance or transfer plans, and title plans that only show the general positions of the boundaries. 

You may also experience the lack of quality information regarding the dimensions given such as the process and the instruments used to take the measurements, identification of the persons who took the dimensions and steps taken to ensure their accuracy.

When trying to determine the exact position of your boundary, the legal presumptions that are meant to fill any gaps in the evidence can become a challenge depending on whether they or they do not apply in your case. 

The admissibility of the extrinsic evidence as the proof of a boundary position may also become a challenge especially in the case of old aerial photographs, Ordnance Survey maps, and photographs from an archive of photography or a family photo album. 

Other challenges that you may experience include finding out whether the exact position of the boundary has been clarified by a boundary agreement and whether the legal aspects of the estoppel and of adverse possession have led to a change in the position of the boundary.

For you to overcome some of the said challenges, you may need professional assistance. However, before you can start the process of identifying legal boundary from the title deeds, you should first determine the professional opinion that you need in your dispute. 

You should also determine whether the legal expenses insurance cover will cover the dispute if you have one and whether you need a solicitor. Furthermore, you should also put into consideration how your neighbour will react to the issues you bring.

Thankfully, there are several ways you can resolve a boundary dispute. You can make a decision based on an amicable discussion or agreement with your neighbour, an expert determination, adjudication, a high court judgement, and by a decision of the Land Registration Tribunal.

stacks of paperwork

If you need advice on boundary dispute resolution of resolving a boundary dispute, consult a chartered surveyor to discuss your needs.