Barbados Land Surveyors Association
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Pointing out boundaries to a Purchaser by Brian Hart  

1) Common for a Vendor to employ a Surveyor to point out marks to a Purchaser.

2) A Surveyor employed by a Vendor has no legal liability to a Purchaser. The Surveyor is generally employed to point out Boundary Marks with or sometimes without benefit of a plan. Commonly the Agreement for Sale includes the supply of a plan by the Vendor to the Purchaser as well as the pointing out of marks not necessarily by a Surveyor. A surveyor employed by a Vendor may incur some liability for errors on the grounds of incompetence, inadequate research or other technical or professional inadequacy.

3) Contrast the “adversarial” approach of attorneys for a sale by conveyance where it is uncommon or impossible for a Vendor and Purchaser not to each employ an Attorney (sometimes the same Attorney). Obviously, for registered land, Government intercedes and declares that the title of registered land is good and the sale can be carried out with only a limited and specified amount of research.

4) The scenario for the “safest” transfer would involve the Surveyor for the Vendor to employ his Surveyor to check and point out the Boundaries/Boundary Marks to the Purchaser’s Surveyor who would then verify the said Boundaries/Boundary Marks on behalf of his Client, the Purchaser.

5) Issues arise when the Vendor has an inadequate or no boundary plan.
A successful transfer of title can take place between a willing Vendor and Purchaser in the absence of an adequate plan. There is also no requirement for the involvement of a Surveyor by either party. Clearly a Vendor unwilling to provide an adequate plan may not find a willing Purchaser but Boundaries and Boundary Marks may exist in the absence of a Boundary Plan. A common example of this is where a Boundary Plan may have existed but is now lost and there are no plans of adjacent land.

In the same vein, if the Vendor and Purchaser agree, there may be no Surveyor involved on either side and the Vendor or his representative may point our Boundary Marks or Boundaries to the Purchaser or his representative.
It is also possible to transfer land in the absence of not only a Boundary Plan but also in the absence of some or all Boundary Marks. It all depends on what the Purchaser is willing to accept.

I personally have off and on been searchin for several acres of land in St. Andrew which were bought for a song from an owner who needed money urgently and made the sale to a Client who recognised a bargain but apparently hasn’t been able to find anyone to tell him where the land is – the original Vendor having aparently died before commnicating the location of the land.

As a slight digression, the location of a Boundary Mark agreed by those familiar with the boundaries as being in place for a long time and agreed to by owners of the adjacent properties will take precedence over a conflicting location shown on a boundary plan.

- Brian Hart is the principal partner at Hart Hutchingson and Field Inc.


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