Boundary dispute settled for $85,000
A couple have had to pay $85,000 for 11sqm of land they thought they already owned.
Arthur Boyer and his partner Nicole Kramer moved into their Western Springs home in 2012.
But a dispute broke out with their neighbour Clare McCracken in 2014 after a surveyor found part of Boyer’s backyard belonged to McCracken.
In a decision delivered by the High Court last week, Judge Anne Hinton, QC, said the land in dispute featured a pathway that provided the only access to Boyer’s front door.
Boyer’s property, at 31 Springfield Rd is located on a cross-lease - the other property on the crosslease, 31A Springfield Road, was purchased by McCracken in 2013.
At the time of purchase, both parties understood the fence was the legal boundary.
But the fence located between the two houses since 1992 was incorrect - the correct boundary line was in fact hard up against the front porch of Boyer’s house.
McCracken told Boyer she would demolish the fence and put up a new fence on the correct boundary.
But Boyer wanted to reach an agreement to leave the fence as the pathway was the only access to his front door.
Boyer offered McCracken $15,000 but McCracken refused and demolished the fence.
The situation turned hostile and the case went to the High Court.
Judge Hinton said McCracken’s backyard was small, so the disputed strip of land was ‘‘meaningful’’.
But the path obviously led to Boyer’s house, she said.
Judge Hinton said $85,000 was a ‘‘very generous’’ but appropriate compensation to McCracken.
Real Estate Agents Authority Chief Executive Kevin LampenSmith said it was crucial to seek legal advice before buying a home.
‘‘Buying a house is the biggest financial decision most people will make and can cost even more if something goes wrong - as this case shows.
‘‘A lawyer will examine all the paperwork, including the title search that contains information on the property’s ownership, boundary and access.’’