Knowing your boundaries

25 Feb 2016

We are all familiar with the red line on plans, showing property boundaries. In reality, the red line on the plan is about a metre wide on the ground! The Land Registry website includes the rather alarming statement that a boundary is “an exact line having no thickness or width and is rarely identified with any precision either on the ground or in conveyances or transfers and is not shown on OS mapping”.

How on earth, therefore, can one rely upon the stroke of even the finest red pen? And it gets worse! “The legal boundary may run within the physical boundary structure but it might just as easily run along one side of the structure….Identifying the boundary on the ground may become very difficult.” And worse! The Land Registry message is essentially that what the registered title shows is only as good as the information provided on registration (plus what they already have), with a set of complicated rules for resolving discrepancies.

It is common practice these days, to discard title deeds on the assumption that all of the necessary title information required for dealings with property is held by the Land Registry. If only! For the Property Litigation lawyer asked to advise where the boundary lies, what is needed most is the site history.

The conclusion? Hang on to deeds, they may prove decisive. And if the position of the boundary is critical (e.g. for marking out building plots), best let your lawyer have a look before you start work on site. There have been instances when a house built across a boundary line, even by less than a metre, has had to be demolished.

Further reading

Use of statutory demand to make company insolvent suspended until June

Blog, Legal Updates
Cheraine Williams looks at more temporary Covid-driven measures that will protect businesses and tenants from possible legal action
Read more Read

New guidance issued for valuation of flats and investigating fire safety

Blog, Legal Updates
Cheraine Williams looks a the current situation facing leaseholders looking to sell or re-finance their property; will new guidance provide clarity?
Read more Read

Government sets new energy targets for domestic and commercial buildings

Blog, Legal Updates
UK law requires net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; new rules and standards for heating and powering buildings will have a significant impact
Read more Read

Covid regs prevent landlords taking action to recover rent for more than 500 days

Blog, Legal Updates
Just seven days’ rent arrears used to be enough for commercial landlords to take action; the latest adjustment pushes that out to 554 days
Read more Read
  • Brighton Office

    1 Jubilee Street


    East Sussex

    BN1 1GE

  • Gatwick Office

    Griffin House

    135 High Street


    West Sussex

    RH10 1DQ

  • Guildford Office

    Wonersh House

    The Guildway

    Old Portsmouth Road



    GU3 1LR

  • Horsham Office

    Ridgeland House

    15 Carfax


    West Sussex

    RH12 1DY

  • London Office

    6 New Street Square

    New Fetter Lane


    EC4A 3BF

  • Get in touch