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Identification Surveys - Why are they important?

Mitchel Hanlon
Written by: Mitchel Hanlon

A recent article in Professional Surveyors Canada's True Lines journal spoke of a case where a pool was constructed that encroached onto the neighbour's land.

A court hearing went against the owner of the pool. He had hoped to buy some of the neighbour's land or at least acquire an Easement for Encroachment. Unfortunately, the Court ruled in favour of the neighbour and the pool owner was required to remove the pool and patio within 75 days at their cost.

Neither landowner engaged a surveyor to survey the respective land parcels and report on potential encroachments before settlement. A survey would have red-flagged encroachments or possible defects in the title.

In my younger days as a graduate then newly registered land surveyor, solicitors regularly requested Identification Surveys. This type of survey is an insurance for the purchaser, a precautionary measure to ensure the buyer isn't buying problems. 

It also aided the solicitor. More than once did I encounter survey requests on the wrong land parcel. The survey flagged the error well before the transfer dealing was submitted to the titles office.

Why did this practice cease? Well in the continuous need to drive down costs, a $1000 to $1500 survey is deemed excessive compared to $300 title insurance. In the Canadian example, the cost of removal and replacement is in the order of $120,000. Title insurance did not extend to fencing, patios or pools

A $1500 Identification Survey on a $1m property purchase is cheap insurance. 

If you have any queries about a property you're thinking about purchasing call our office and ask to speak to one of our surveyors. They know about land law and can provide a solution to your land problem.


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