Unfortunately, if you live in England or Wales, chances are there is no official recording of where your property line is.
We’re going to explain how you can go about agreeing on your property lines with your neighbour and how to get the record with HM Land Registry (HMLR).
If you need help with your property boundaries, then get in touch today and speak with a building surveyor in Cornwall.
Check Your Title Plan
The first thing you need to do when having a disagreement over a boundary line is to get access to the property’s title plan and title registry. This can be done online with HMLR.
Their service allows you to look up who the current owner of a property is (even if it’s not you), as well as how far the general boundaries extend and whether the property is a flood risk.
This service isn’t free. The title plan or register is £3 each and it costs £10.80 for a flood risk indication.
Create a Boundary Agreement
Once you’ve got a copy of the title plan and registry, you’ll need to have a discussion with the owner of the neighbouring property. You can then create what’s known as a ‘boundary agreement’.
This will help with disputes such as:
- Where the boundary between the two properties is.
- Who is responsible for the maintenance of a hedge, wall, tree or fence between the two properties.
A boundary agreement cannot be used to give or sell land between properties.
What To Include in a Boundary Agreement
The important things to mention in a boundary agreement are:
- Your name and address.
- Your neighbour’s name and address.
- The date the agreement begins.
- The boundary you’ve agreed upon.
There are multiple ways you can include the agreed-upon boundary including:
- A written description of the properties and the boundary.
- A copy of an Ordnance Survey map on which you have drawn or written the boundary.
- A map of the properties and its boundaries that you’ve drawn yourself.
Once you’ve done this, you or your neighbour need to fill out the application to change the register (AP1) on the HMLR website. This will incur a fee of £40 that can be paid by one or both of you.
Once the application has been accepted, you and your neighbour will receive a copy of the updated register.
A Determined Boundary
You can also apply for what’s known as a ‘determined boundary’. This is the process of having the exact boundary between two properties recorded.
A determined boundary will still be valid even if you or your neighbour sell your property. You can only apply for a determined boundary if your property is registered with HMLR.
Always check your title plan before applying for a determined boundary as your property may already have one.
How to Apply For a Determined Boundary
You’ll need to send the following to the HMLR Citizen Centre:
- A plan showing the determined boundary made by a chartered land surveyor.
- Evidence that supports your application.
- A completed exact line of boundary (DB) form
The application costs £90 and you’ll also need to pay fees for the surveyor and a solicitor as well.
So long as your neighbour agrees with the boundary and they sign the form and plan, you’ll both receive an updated copy of the plan and register.
What Evidence Can You Include?
As we’ve said, you’ll need to include any evidence you have that supports your plan. This could include:
- Certified copies of the deeds to your property from before the property was registered.
- An expert’s report.
- A written statement signed in front of a solicitor, a magistrate or a commissioner of oaths.
What if Your Neighbour Disagrees?
There is always the chance your neighbour will disagree with your application.
If this happens, HMLR will decide whether or not their objection is valid. If it is, you and the neighbour will be given the opportunity to reach another agreement. If an agreement can’t be made then your application will be sent to a tribunal.
This will have one of two outcomes:
- The tribunal will approve your application and HMLR will send you and your neighbour a copy of the updated plan and register.
- The tribunal will reject your application and will either decide where the exact boundary should be, or no boundary will be determined.
If the tribunal rejects your application, chances are you’ll need to pay your neighbour’s costs.
Finding property lines doesn’t have to be messy. Just remember to be reasonable in your expectations and always consult with a legal professional before any steps are taken to avoid unnecessary fees or complications.
If you’re looking to find your property lines, or you have any other questions, please get in touch with us.