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.’’

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