Investors across the Greater Toronto Area are being reminded to check the official boundaries of a property during the home buying and selling process, in an effort to reduce the prevalence of boundary disputes.
“Everywhere I go, everyone has a boundary story for me,” says Saša Krcmar, executive director of Krcmar Surveyors. “Somebody has an issue with a boundary then you start to feel the emotions come out.”
The issue of boundary disputes can easily rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs should the issue go to court. In British Columbia, for example neighbours found themselves ordered to remove an in-ground swimming pool that was placed over their neighbour’s property. In Ontario, a court case revolving around a strip of land about a foot wide spent four years in the court system and cost $100,000 in legal fees.
“If you have a problem with, say, heating, it’s a limited amount of money to deal with it,” Krcmar says. “But you can’t easily fix a boundary problem. If neighbours don’t like each other, how do you fix that? You don’t feel comfortable in your own home anymore. It hits you on a different level.”
A report compiled by Krcmar Surveyors revealed that almost half of residential properties in Toronto have boundary-related issues, whether that means a fence built technically on a neighbour’s property or a tree or structure that extends beyond the owner’s lot.
Krcmar Surveyors has 216,484 plans in its database for the GTA, and has made the results of those surveys available through its new site ProtectYourBoundaries.ca. The site enables investors, property owners and potential buyers to purchase an up-to-date survey of a property. Krcmar says the site will help people to understand where their property boundaries are, mitigating any issues before they become problems.
“It starts with a survey plan. That will show you where the boundaries are supposed to be,” he says. “It’s a more objective starting point versus the emotional – ‘he ripped down my hedges, she took down my fence’. It’s a starting point.”