Boundary disputes or the potential for boundary disputes usually arise when one neighbour re-develops their property, either by a small renovation or something on a bigger scale. Why does this happen?
The neighbour seeking to carry out the works on their property typically requires a DA be lodged at the local Council. At this time, a Survey Report is usually obtained. A Survey Report marks out the boundaries of a property and will indicate any encroachments on the property by the adjoining property or vice-versa.
Once the boundaries are shown to be inconsistent with the actual Property and the Deposited Plan for that property, we usually get a phone call. Sometimes the encroachment is minor and does not affect the enjoyment of the Property. Other times it is more major and can affect the plans the adjoining neighbour previously had for his/her property.
The best way to avoid these nasty surprises is to obtain a Survey Report prior to Exchange of Contracts, especially where there is doubt about the boundaries or it looks likely that there is some encroachment; think older inner city suburbs. Otherwise there is very little that can be done and a property owner may find they lose land once the property has been properly surveyed. Another time to be thinking about obtaining a Survey Report prior to Exchange is where the land is Limited Title land as the LPI does not hold a survey for that land, read more about that here.
As with all property purchases, the more due diligence that can be done prior to exchange, the buyer will be minimising their risk and chance of surprises arising post settlement.