Every home with a boundary problem was once a brand-new home. If the boundaries are not clearly understood from the time the first owner moves in, inaccuracies in the placement of fences, sheds, walkways, gardens and so on can create the potential for an unfortunate property boundary dispute in years to come.
That’s why it’s imperative for homeowners in new subdivisions to understand exactly where their boundaries are – and that’s often not easy in a construction zone with mud everywhere and no fences to define each parcel of land.
Surveying is both the science of accurate land measurement and the art of expertly interpreting physical evidence and historical property records to arrive at a professional opinion regarding the boundaries of a parcel of land.
A new year is here and we have a resolution idea for all homeowners who don’t have a property survey plan – make this the year you get one!
A land survey plan is an essential homeowner document: it provides vital data about your property on one unique, specialized map – information that you need for successful real estate transactions and home improvement projects, and to ensure that you and your neighbours respect each others’ property rights.
In the early 1990s, title insurance was introduced to the Canadian real estate market, offering lenders, lawyers and homebuyers insurance against title defects, off-title building code infractions, mortgage and title fraud, as well as many property boundary defects that would otherwise have been revealed in an up-to-date land survey plan.
In doing so, title insurance made it possible for real estate transactions to close faster but with far less due diligence – it is no longer routine for the survey plan to be thoroughly examined prior to purchase to ascertain the property’s physical features – buildings, garages, sheds, fences, walls, decks, etc. – relative to the property’s boundary.
A hedge can be a beautiful way to define the boundaries of your property and provide a stunning backdrop for your garden. There are many choices of plant material, depending on the level of privacy you desire and the look you want year-round, from evergreens like cedar, yew and boxwood to perennial grasses and flowering shrubs – the possibilities are endless.
As with fence installation, proper placement of a hedge, tree or other living garden feature is essential, so be sure to check your property’s survey plan first – you don’t want to start digging and planting on someone else’s land!
“Privacy is what we crave most,” horticulturalist Thomas Hobbs declared in his book Shocking Beauty, an ode to enthralling garden design. “It is essential. You must create it if it is not already there… The satisfaction we derive from a garden is multiplied manifold by how much of it we can experience in private, or with people we know and like.”
Ideally, the creation of a private outdoor space takes into account both function and form – the best solutions protect your sanctuary from intrusion and screen out undesirable views, while beautifying your space.
You may be king of your castle, but do you have sole dominion over your land? The answer is ‘no’ if your property is subject to easement rights that allow another party to use part of your land or access services that cross it.
For example, your neighbour may have the legal right to use a portion of your driveway to access their garage. Or a public utility may have buried services that affect where you can install a new backyard pool or even a patio or deck. Any easement that affects your land is something you need to know about before you agree to purchase the property.
For many families, the arrival of winter means rosy-cheeked children will soon be lacing up ice skates for some fresh air, exercise and outdoor fun.
But as much as Canadians cherish the story of how hockey great Wayne Gretzky perfected his skills on a backyard rink, every year we hear cautionary tales of families who are upset by an order to remove their home ice rink, after umpteen hours of flooding and care.
A new development in Canadian common law will continue to play out in the business and legal worlds this year, with significant and far-reaching implications for all contractual agreements in Canada, including those that govern real estate transactions.
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in the case of Bhasin v. Hrynew SCC 71 imposes a new duty of honest contractual performance and clarifies how the principle of good faith fits into contract law.
With the arrival of warm sunny weather, the garden beckons and the desire for backyard transformation becomes a siren song, sending throngs of people to garden centres and building supply stores to turn vision into reality. But you won’t find the most fundamental tool for creating the ideal backyard paradise among the plants and patio stones and outdoor décor on sale at your local Rona or Home Depot. And without it, you risk wrecking your relationship with your neighbours and enduring the stress and expense of having to undo all your hard work.