The Court of Appeal has confirmed that a “T” mark on a plan was only one factor (and not necessarily the determining factor) to be taken into account when trying to ascertain the precise location of a boundary and the ownership of a boundary feature.
The dispute in the case arose between two neighbours over the ownership of a strip of land just a few inches wide between their properties. The court had to decide the precise location of the boundary between the two properties.
On appeal, it was concluded that ownership of the disputed land depended on what had been sold to the neighbours in 1971. However, the plan attached to the 1971 conveyance was not accurate enough or of a sufficient scale for the dispute to be resolved by simply looking at the plan or its measurements. The plan was also an inaccurate representation of the boundary position on the ground as built by the original developer.
The use of “T” marks did not raise any presumption in law as to the ownership of the particular boundary feature. Although it is common practice to use “T” marks to identify who owns a wall or a fence, whether that determined the boundary ownership depended on balancing it against the other relevant terms of the conveyance, features of the plan as well as evidence of the position on the ground.
Any ambiguity between the position on ground and the plan has to be resolved by reference to the position on the ground as it would have appeared to the reasonable layperson when the house was first sold.
Lanfear v Chandler (2013)