The Canterbury earthquakes permanently changed the lay of the land in Canterbury, including some property boundaries. This boundary movement will now need to be acknowledged by surveyors.

Legislation just passed will give surveyors and property owners certainty in the location of boundaries for earthquake-affected properties in Canterbury.

The Canterbury Property Boundaries and Related Matters Act provides that legal property boundaries have moved with the earthquake-related land movement. Now, surveyors will have to take earthquake movement into account when locating property boundaries.

For nearly all properties, the legal boundaries will continue to align with where they are expected to be – as marked before the earthquakes by boundary marks such as features like fences.

All cadastral surveys undertaken in Christchurch following the earthquakes that have been approved by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), will continue to determine the boundaries of the land. However, there may be occasions where conflicts between surveys are identified which need to be resolved.

Where there are any boundary conflicts that occur as a result of earlier approved surveys that did not take land movement into account, LINZ will work with those surveyors and property owners to manage those conflicts.

The next step is for LINZ to consult with surveyors on proposed rules to implement the new legislation that will apply in greater Christchurch. These proposed rules will incorporate the valuable feedback received earlier this year.

The aim of the legislation long term is to reduce the potential for future boundary disputes and conflicts in Canterbury.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.