The General Boundary Rule

The Land Registry follows a rule of ‘general boundaries’. This means that the exact boundary line of a property is undetermined and the Land Registry Title Plan only indicates the general location of the property boundary. The exact boundary will be within the vicinity of the red line, but it is not guaranteed to be in the exact position of the red line.

This is unhelpful when boundary disputes arise, for example over the position of a fence which one party argues is only a number of inches or feet away from the ‘correct’ position.

Getting a Boundary Position Determined

It is possible to fix a boundary for certainty, however the costs involved in doing so fall on the applicant wishing to determine the exact boundary position.

Usually, a surveyor is hired by one or both of the parties to the dispute who is an expert in boundary determination disputes. He/she will review all available deeds and documents relating to the adjacent properties and attempt to decide where the precise boundary should be.

When a decision has been reached (which may only be after a court or tribunal hearing), the parties all sign a boundary determination agreement which is sent to the Land Registry, and the Land Registry will update the title plans accordingly.

The Land Registry’s Role in Determining a Boundary Position

In all of this, you will notice the Land Registry has a very small role – it is not an arbitrator or decision maker – it merely updates its records once the parties have fought it out between themselves. The Land Registry does not have the power to decide the exact position of a boundary, at the highest level, only a court can do that.