The PYB Blog
My neighbour wants to cut down a tree that provides privacy and shade for my backyard. It’s growing on the property line, so who owns it?
I am a realtor and want to get due diligence done on the land my client is buying. How you can assist?
Our last few blog posts have focused on the top four situations where a land survey plan is important: buying a home, selling a home, planning an exterior renovation (building a fence, shed, etc.) and disputing a boundary. Now we’ll look at the land survey plan itself, and the important role it plays in our system of private land ownership, which is based on properties with well-defined boundaries.
One of the oldest professions in the world, land surveying emerged along with the human desire to build large structures, from Stonehenge forward. Ancient surveyors plotted the sites of the pyramids in Egypt before the first massive building stones slid into place. The Romans established land surveying as a profession to measure and manage the conquered lands that formed their empire. Both William the Conqueror and Napoleon Bonaparte relied on precise maps to gain wealth and power.
Notable surveyors include Sir George Everest, (yes, that mountain), George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. In what would become Canada, the great explorers – including Samuel de Champlain, James Cook and George Vancouver – began the process of documenting the contours of the land on paper.
Licensed Ontario Land Surveyors and their staff, working within the Province of Ontario, have a statutory right to enter onto private property in order to perform a survey. Despite this entitlement, they often meet resistance: neighbours may object and have been known to call the police to stop what they consider an act of trespass.
The law recognizes certain circumstances when officials of government agencies and inspectors can enter onto private land without a search warrant. But this access is subject to limitations. Even fire firefighters and emergency medical services staff must abide by certain conditions when entering private land during an emergency.
Your clients can be surprised to learn that they don’t always have the sole and exclusionary use of their own land. A portion of their driveway might be used by an adjacent landowner to access a garage. A public utility may have buried wires right where a prospective purchaser wants to dig a back yard pool.
Many properties in the GTA are subject to easement rights that the real estate professional needs to be aware of and be able to explain to their clients. It is a great opportunity to help a client mitigate risk and demonstrate the added value that you bring to as a Realtor. Conversely a buyer ‘s misunderstanding can cause a closing to be delayed or even result in litigation.