"I had a site for sale for the past three years. After halving the asking price, I finally got a genuine buyer last month. It was only when we were finalising the details of the deal that I discovered that the boundary of the site was incorrectly marked on the map. My buyer is threatening to evaporate. Help!"
Incorrect boundaries crop up on maps more often than our map-makers would care to admit. I've even seen cases where whole fields have been missing from maps.
- STEP 1: A qualified surveyor or engineer will need to come out to draw up new maps. This will show discrepancies on the map and this information is passed on to the Land Registry. The surveyor will also be able to point out on the ground where a fence should be -- if this is necessary.
- STEP 2: Meet your neighbour. Hopefully they'll agree that the boundary is incorrectly marked. If this is the case, you will both need to go to your solicitor so that he/she can do up a consent form to be lodged in the land registry. This usually takes about two to four weeks to prepare and lodge in the land registry. Once the consent form has been signed, it will be binding on all parties.
- STEP 3: If your neighbour will not co-operate, you are looking at a long, drawn-out process that will probably take years to complete and can be very costly. Your solicitor will need to lodge documents (affidavits) with the Land Registry to prove that you have been the sole occupant of the land for at least 12 years. This may involve a trawl for death certificates of previous owners or accounts of why the maps have proved incorrect (eg, during the recent digitisation of maps).
If the Land Registry will not or cannot deal with this application, you may need to go to court to have the matter resolved. It is often the case where a matter goes before the court -- in these situations neither party will be satisfied with the outcome and both parties will be left with a large legal bill. Where at all possible, it is to everyone's benefit that an agreement acceptable to all parties can be reached.