Keeping the peace with your neighbours usually is not a problem, but every year, people take advice on boundary wall disputes or placements of driveways, fences and other structures, such as garden sheds and trees. There can be a number of causes of boundary disputes mainly due to misunderstandings or lack of clarification because of inaccurate measurements. Fortunately, there is a way to prevent most disputes from arising in the first place by working with a qualified land surveyor in Melbourne. Residents have benefited from expert advice through working with town planning consultants who can also provide accurate measurements and the right approach to dealing with neighbour boundary disputes.
First of all, it is always better to get the facts right from the beginning and ensure that both parties understand where the boundary lines are on the property. Even if you are not planning on putting up a new fence or boundary wall, knowing where your land ends and the neighbours starts, along with any access rights, is going to prevent any disputes before they even start. Make sure that you have an accurately drawn up and measured plan by enlisting the service of a licensed land surveyor. Melbourne based town planning services will be able to support you in all aspects of establishing clearly defined boundaries.
They will ensure that a full survey is undertaken to check that what is actually on the ground is matched to the plans that the Lands Titles Office or LTO hold. The LTO records will be searched to see if any other information is held on file regarding changes to the boundary by the previous occupier or landowner. There may also be other information held that could affect the physical boundaries currently in place. However, once the boundary has been identified, then the surveyor can produce an accurate and comprehensive plan. Make sure if anything comes to light that may cause a problem or conflict this plan is lodged with the LTO. Professional consulting firms will employ a town planning consultant who will be happy to go through the sort of conflicting information that could arise and show how lodging the plan with the LTO can protect your interests.
Dealing with an accusation
If you receive a complaint from your neighbour of impinging on their land, there are a couple of things you need to be doing. The first thing is to have a discussion with them so that you can clarify what their concerns are and exactly what area they feel has been encroached. It is always better to meet face to face but sometimes if relations are already strained, you may want to get a mediator or impartial observer, such as another neighbour or a professional surveyor. Suggest to the neighbour that you both need to get the boundaries of each property marked up by a surveyor. Once this is carried out it may clarify the confusion that has arisen, but you both need to know where your land ends and theirs begins.
Don’t start to put up new fences or walls or repair a boundary between properties until you have had a word with your neighbour. Even repair work may mean you or your building contractor must work on their side of the fence or wall, so you need permission to do this, otherwise it is trespass. Even though fencing in law is in joint ownership between you and the neighbour, legally you cannot make them contribute to the upkeep. Give them as much notice as possible and gain their consent before starting any work, and ensure you have accurate records of fence placement because this will avoid future concerns or confrontations.
Encroachment from the neighbours
Even if you bought the property and there was a fence or structure in place, this does not mean this is the legal boundary line. If you have got any concerns, before going straight to your solicitor, it is worth doing a few other things first which will save you money and keep a reasonable relationship in place with the neighbours.
Get the boundaries marked out physically on the plot using the services of a licensed surveyor. They will search the LTO records and prepare a plan that you can use to discuss your concerns with the neighbour. A town planning consultant who is based in the local area may also have prior knowledge of any previous issues and can advise you of your options. This will help when you have a conversation with the neighbour, who may not even be aware there is a problem (they may have inherited that wall or fence line), and you can have a respectful conversation about your worries and concerns.
Remember you don’t have to love thy neighbour, just live side by side in peace with them, and planning consultants are there to ensure this happens.