Check the boundaries of your property

A recent judgement in a court case mentioned in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes law update is a warning to check carefully where the boundary walls actually are meant to be on the property you are about to buy or have bought, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter.

If you are buying a plot that has been subdivided off a larger property, it is in your interest, she said, to inspect the pegs and get a proper copy of the site diagram to ensure that the wall has in fact been erected on the correct boundary line.

This was brought to light in the case between Roseveare v Katmer, Katmer v Roseveare and Another, where although the purchaser did acknowledge in the agreement of sale that the boundary wall had a "slight deviation" to save a tree growing on boundary, it was later found that the deviation was actually 20m².

When Mr Katmer started renovating his home he employed a land surveyor to assist with the finalisation of his plans and it was then that they discovered that the wall was not where it should have been. He then started to demolish the wall and Mrs Roseveare applied for an urgent interdict to prevent this from happening. The matter was, however, eventually resolved amicably.

"The lesson to be learned here is that the buyer must check the site diagrams, inspect the pegs if the wall has not been built yet and check the boundaries of his property carefully," she said. "The seller should have a land surveyor measure up properly if there are any doubts. The expense of going to court could have been avoided if this had been done initially."

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