Legal Description Of Property Should Be Confirmed By Survey

Question: In a recent column, you discussed problems after a survey showed that a Cave Creek homeowner’s east wall and west wall were both three feet off the property line in a subdivision. Regarding the west wall built three feet away from the property line, the homeowner did not want to pay for the cost to move his west wall three feet to the property line, so he deeded this three feet of land to the west neighbor. Regarding the east wall built three feet over the property line, you said that after ten years the Cave Creek homeowner may have an adverse possession claim against the east neighbor for ownership of this three feet. I am a surveyor and I agree with you. Therefore, I would strongly recommend that any homeowner in a subdivision compare the Record of Survey with the Subdivision Plat to determine if the property boundaries in the legal description of the homeowner’s deed correctly describe the property boundaries.

Answer: Thank you for your comments. Both the Record of Survey and the Subdivision Plat should have been recorded by the developer.

Note: Several readers of this column suggested that the Cave Creek homeowner should review their title insurance policy to see if there is coverage for incorrect property boundaries. In general, however, the standard homeowner’s title insurance policy rarely affords significant coverage for incorrect property boundaries. There are endorsements available at an additional cost from a title insurance company that would insure correct property boundaries. This endorsement would probably require a survey and even a physical inspection of the property.

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