Protect Your Boundaries: Knowing Your Property Lines Matters

Posted by Juliana Forero on Sep 12, 2017 6:58:20 AM

“Where is my property line?”  It’s a question commonly asked by homeowners who, having paid little attention to the actual location of their property boundary, are faced with the decision of where to build a fence, shed, deck or pool.


 Isn’t the fence the property line?

While most people assume that the fence marks the property line, the truth of the matter is that most do not.  This usually comes about in one of two ways:  either a homeowner decided to build a fence inside their property line so that they can have full control over style, maintenance etc., or that homeowner decides to approximate where the boundary is and makes a mistake. 

♦ Is it illegal to build a fence off the property line?

It’s not illegal to build a fence off the property line, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to build a fence on your property. However, it can certainly cause headaches for future buyers and sellers of your house and neighbouring properties when, once you’re no longer there to explain the situation, potential buyers and sellers assume that the fence is on the property line and make representations and decisions based on that assumption.

So how do I know where my property line is?

Only land surveyors have the legal authority to locate and mark a property line.  This information is also on the land survey plans that they create to document their findings. If you have a land survey plan of your property it will tell you the dimensions of your property.  If the survey plan is a Surveyors Real Property Report (a type of survey plan) it will likely show your house on it and give you measurements from the corners of the building to the property line.  You can approximate the location of the property line by measuring out these distances.  Be warned, though:  this is a very rough estimate and this method is to give you a rough idea only.





Credit to Chris Kamarianakis  I   








Existing Surveys, New Surveys and Boundary Stakeoutsyour

In order to get an official opinion on the location of your property line you will need to consult a professional land surveyor.  Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there are generally three options available to you:

Existing survey plans are survey plans of your property that were performed at somepoint in the past.  Boundaries generally don’t change, and niether does the location of most residential buildings. As such an older survey plan can be of enormous value to a homeowner in determining where the property line is. Protect Your Boundaries has the largest database of existing survey plans available at

Boundary Stakeouts: If you are putting up a fence, new landscaping, or building some other structure that does not require a building permit, and you simply want the property line marked on the ground, then a Boundary Stakeout is a good bet.  This option is also valuable when two neighbours disagree on the location of the property line that delineates their properties, and they both want an official opinion on its actual location.  

New Survey: If you are in a boundary dispute, or you are intending on building a major structure that requires a building permit, then you will require a new survey.  Contact a land surveyor to have a new survey performed.