Who owns my fence?

Good fences make good neighbors.” – Robert Frost
Great neighbors build the fence in the right place!” – Mark Sutter

Greetings from Third Rock!

A homeowner recently called about the demolition of the house next door, with concerns about their fence and its location relative to the property line. She wanted to know who owns my fence? And what would happen if the demolition team took it down or replaced it during redevelopment? What are her rights in this situation?

Her question raised a red flag immediately, because the developer or a good neighbor should have spoken with her well in advance of demolition day.

Here is what you should know:

First, you can expect the developer has hired a Professional Alberta Land Surveyor. Only a licensed Land Surveyor can define property lines. Further, a Land Surveyor has a duty to exercise unbiased and independent professional judgement when defining boundaries, regardless of any perceived benefit for either landowner.

The technologist you may have seen on site (performing the site survey work) should be employed by a Professional Land Survey firm. They function under the direct supervision of a Land Surveyor. During the redevelopment of a site, they will identify the property boundary and place points to show the construction crew where to dig and where to build.

If you find yourself with questions about a development adjacent to your property, talk with the developer. Ask who is representing them regarding their survey work. You will have the opportunity to discuss the development with the Land Surveyor and ask about the location of the boundary and the the fence. A phone call will likely provide piece of mind and potentially save you money in the long run.

If you continue to have concerns about the situation you have the right to hire another Land Surveyor for a second opinion. Only in rare cases do the boundary come into dispute.

Click below, for more general information about Fences and Land Surveyors:


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Mark Sutter, Alberta Land Surveyor
CEO, Third Rock Geomatics

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