Property Boundaries and Fences: Why They’re So Important
If you’re buying a new property, keeping it secure should be one of your first priorities. Most home or business owners choose to do this by putting up fences or hedgerows—but first, it’s important to know where your property boundaries lie. Without doing so you may encroach on your neighbour’s land, causing embarrassment at best, or an expensive legal dispute at worst.
What is a property boundary?
In simple terms, your property boundary defines where your property begins and ends. Think of it as a line that shows the perimeter of your parcel of land.
Property boundaries are an important aspect of property law. When you own a parcel of land, you own everything both above and below the surface, with your property boundary providing a detailed geographic and legal description of that land. This is particularly useful in mapping out your new fencing, as we’ll come to later.
Finding your property boundary
Locating your property boundary is a straightforward process and there are a few ways you can go about it:
Look for markers
If you live in a relatively new home, you may be able to locate your property boundary markers yourself—especially if you live in a subdivision. Look for any stakes sticking out of the ground on the perimeter of your property, sometimes with white markers on.
Serve a boundary notice
It’s good practice to inform your neighbour if you intend to find out where your property boundaries are (especially if you can’t agree on the matter). You can do this by serving a Boundary Notice. This process informs your neighbour that you’ll be hiring a registered surveyor, which then gives your neighbour seven days to respond by showing you where they think the boundary is. They can either do that by marking it out with pegs or stakes, or hiring their own registered land surveyor.
Hire a registered surveyor
This is the best way of getting an accurate, up-to-date, and legally binding report of your property boundaries. Professional surveyors, like our team here at C&A Surveyors, can complete boundary surveys in just a few days. One thing to keep in mind though, if your surveyor’s report shows any encroachment (either from yourself or your neighbour), you will need to work with your neighbour to settle that issue.
What is a boundary survey?
Hiring a registered land surveyor is crucial for ensuring accuracy in both the initial measurements and the resulting boundary report and sketch plans. These are legally binding documents which need to meet industry standards, hence the need for professional help.
Why are boundary surveys so important before installing fencing?
Before you start installing new fencing for your property, it’s important to be clear about your property boundaries—and therefore the need to get a proper boundary survey arises. This is because there are rules around building on your property, particularly in relation to the distance you can build from the property line.
In NSW, for example, the law states that you can build fencing on your boundary line, but the posts must be on your side of the property (and the fence shouldn’t exceed 1.8m in height).
Even though they don’t show up on a boundary survey, it’s also important to note any easements on your land when installing fencing. These denote a number of things—from rights of access, to services, to waterways, etc.—so if this is the case, you’re not able to build anything that encroaches on the easement.
Why is boundary fencing so important?
This often comes as a surprise to many homeowners, but there are only a few situations where you legally have to install a boundary fence on your NSW property—usually if you live next to a railway; need to stop livestock from leaving their field, or if your property deeds require you to.
However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t install one. Having a well-built boundary fence on your property offers a number of benefits:
- Deter unwanted intruders: fencing acts as a deterrent to unwanted trespassers, whether humans or animals, offering protection for you, your family, and your property.
- Keep children and animals safe: your fencing doesn’t just keep things out, it also keeps things in. A well-installed fence offers great safety for your kids and pets—and peace of mind for you.
- Boost your privacy: keep your property safe from the prying eyes of the outside world, especially if you combine your boundary fencing with trees or shrubs.
- Increase your property value: a quality fence can make your home look more attractive, with the added benefit of privacy and security boosting your property value. Win-win.
Who’s responsible for buying and maintaining boundary fencing?
This might come as good news or bad news, but in NSW, you and your neighbour are usually required to split the cost of the boundary fencing that divides your properties—especially if the existing boundary fence is falling apart or needs repairs.
If you’re willing to pay for the whole thing yourself, you don’t need to come to any financial agreements with your neighbour, but you will need their permission to remove the existing fence and permission to enter their property to do the fence work.
Why property boundaries and fences are so important to NSW homes
For NSW homeowners, understanding your property boundary is critical to staying away from legal disputes with neighbours, managing your property effectively—and maintaining security and kerb appeal.
As Sydney’s leading land surveyors, C&A Surveyors are experienced in boundary surveys, helping client’s better understand their property boundaries and making the right decisions when it comes to installing fencing.
We use the latest in surveying technology and state of the art equipment to get you fast and accurate results, and you can expect a dedicated one-point contact who will seamlessly manage your project from day one.
Contact us today for all of your professional boundary surveying needs.