The PYB Process™ Step 2: Get the documents

The documents you need vary depending on your boundary issue some documents you can obtain yourself, but others require professional assistance.

Property ownership relies upon matching the physical attributes of your property (what's on the ground) with the paper documents that support your ownership. Having these documents in your possession is crucial to resolving boundary-related issues. Research and acquire all the official documents relating to your property and your specific boundary challenge. These documents should describe precisely what you own and reveal any limitations about your property that may be important to your boundary issue or real estate transaction.

Resolving a boundary dispute

If you are in a boundary dispute, or disagree about a structure that you or your neighbour feels is impinging on a property boundary, you will require documents including:

  • A copy of a survey plan that clearly depicts the location of your property boundaries (e.g., SRPR, Reference Plan). A more recent survey plan is preferred. Your lowest-risk option is to have a new survey performed. However, this can be more time consuming and expensive.
  • Your neighbour’s survey plan, if your survey plan is not available or if your neighbour’s survey plan better depicts boundary locations and property features.
  • Parcel register with deed documents to confirm title and provide the property’s legal description.
  • Easement documents (if applicable) to understand your rights of access or other parties’ rights across your land that may affect the properties in question.
  • Statements and other information from neighbourhood residents with knowledge of the history of the dispute
  • Zoning by-law specifications to understand setback and other boundary-related restrictions.

These documents will form the foundation of your boundary protection strategy.

As a landowner, you may already have a copy of your property deed that was included in the closing package provided by your lawyer. The deed confirms the registered owners, and describes the land you own and the value of your investment. However, this document alone may not help resolve a boundary-related issue. Below is a brief description of the other important documents you will want to consider aquiring and thier use.

Survey plan

Surveyors Real Property Reports (SRPR) and older Building Location Surveys (BLS) are the most common survey plans for residential properties. An SRPR is a valuable document because it graphically represents the property boundaries, building location, site features (including fences, driveways, pools, decks, etc.) and survey bars that mark the ends of the boundary lines. An SRPR provides a licenced surveyor's professional opinion of the property's measurements, and shows distances between buildings (and other property features) and the property boundaries. An existing survey plan will cost anywhere from $200 to $600 on; commissioning a new survey may cost upward of $2,000.

to search for an existing survey plan of your property. To commission a new survey of your property, click here

You may also be able to find an existing survey plan of your property from your local surveyor, or locate an applicable deposited plan from your local Land Registry Office. If no survey plan of your property exists, consider commissioning a new survey of your property to be performed by a local land surveyor.

Parcel register

A parcel register is a document produced by the Land Registration System of Ontario containing up-to-date information that describes your property, including a list of instruments registered against the property. A current parcel register report will reveal any recorded title changes and the existence of any property easements. It will list also list any survey plans that have been placed in the system that affects this property.

Easement documents

Easement documents provide details of any rights of access others may have over your property (e.g., hydro and telephone companies, neighbour access), and rights of access you may have with regard to the property of others. It is important to read them to determine the location and specific purpose of easements as well as knowing in whose favour they are.

Zoning by-laws

Municipalities that issue building permits regulate home renovations and construction projects on your property. documents provide specific criteria that govern property development, renovation and construction. Local zoning by-laws include important information for planning construction projects such as requirements defining the minimum distances from the boundaries for structures, and the building height and size limitations, including lot coverage and parking. Obtain a copy of relevant bylaw documents for your project from your local municipality.

Registered/deposited survey plans (public plans)

Registered or deposited survey plans are official plans of land ownership and show the boundaries of your land. However, they may not show building or fence locations.

The specific documents you need depend on the boundary challenge you are facing.