Monday 11 December 2017

Farmer sells 12 acres of his land for price of 11

Win-win deal as discrepancy reveals error between new and old maps

JEROME REILLY

A FARMER who put a small holding of 11 acres up for sale that had been in his family for generations was more than happy with the price he got when it went under the hammer.

But after sale was agreed, the farmer and his legal advisers compared the old land registry maps that he had relied upon for years with newer official ordnance survey maps. The vendor got a shock. There was a major discrepancy between the two maps showing the boundary of his lands. He had sold just over 12 acres of land for the price of 11.

"It was my estate agent who advised me to in addition to a Land Registry map to get an Ordnance Survey map and my solicitor spotted the discrepancy.

"I had a look on Google Earth and it further added to the confusion. The Google map was almost the same as the Ordnance Map, but not the Land Registry map."

Eventually I got a friend with surveying experience who physically measured the fields and he discovered that the difference between the Land Registry map and the Ordnance Survey map to be almost an acre – about €9,000 to €10,000 at current agricultural land prices.

"To allow the sale to complete and contracts to be drawn up, I had to get my neighbour to sign a Deed of Rectification. In other words, he had to get his surveyor and his solicitor to verify that he did not own the extra acre," he told the Sunday Independent.

"As it happens I was more than happy with the price so I can't complain, but it was too late when I spotted it anyway. The deal had been done and the price set," he said.

It's a problem around the country that's been brought into sharp focus by the advent of new technology and aerial photography, which makes it far easier to spot human error that occurred in the drawing of old maps.

According to Ken Murphy of the Law Society of Ireland, a working group has been established to look at the problem.

"There are difficulties around the country with ordnance survey maps not according with the original land registry maps, which may be on the folios registered with the Land Registry or Property Registration Authority (PRA) as it is now called," he told the Sunday Independent.

"When there is a difference in the maps it can cause problems. Sometimes a Deed of Rectification has to be undertaken to amend the record in the PRA and that can involve surveyors and obviously there are costs involved.

"Of course the real difficulty arises when you might have two neighbours who don't agree where the boundary should be, especially if they don't have a good relationship. That can be problematic and lead to costly litigation," he added.

A working group has been established to see if there is some way of resolving these issues other than on a piecemeal case-by-case basis.

"It's an issue that conveyancing solicitors are well aware of. It's become much more identifiable as a problem with the advent of extremely accurate maps in recent years and aerial photography being used," Mr Murphy said.

Irish Independent

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