Boundary issues account for 3 out of 10 title claims. Sometimes, an underwriter will provide homeowner’s title insurance without a new land survey, BUT they will list a boundary issue like this as an exception.
Be sure to get a survey and make sure your title insurance covers any issues like this:
An unfortunate story: a young couple in Ontario, Canada buys a home only to find out after the fact that most of their backyard belongs to a neighboring University.
On the swath of land in question, which is a little over 1,020 sqft, exists the homeowner’s septic system and pool shed. These items fall within the boundaries of Laurentian University and have for the past 13 years, long before the newest homeowners had anything to do with it.
The couple have made attempts to purchase the property from the University what they deemed a fair price of around $12,000, but the offer has been rejected by the school. An additional offer to swap land was also rejected.
The really unfortunate part is that they do have title insurance and the sellers provided a declaration which indicated that all structures that were sold along with the home were within the proper boundaries — but it’s unclear if the title insurance covers the issue, or if the former owner has any liability, or knew about the encroachments.
The whole ordeal has been documented by the couple on a website they created to launch a petition for the school to sell them the land, claiming that they are being treated inequitably because the school has made similar deals with a nearby golf course that had encroachment issues.
It’s clear that these homeowners have been in for a rude awakening after doing something that is common practice in many places, which is not getting a new survey before purchasing a home. And they’re learning that these sorts of issues don’t get resolved easily. They admit that they could have gotten the land survey upfront. I’m sure they would do things differently if they had a chance to do it over.