Property “Encroachment” and Similar Terms Used by Surveyors

In many cases, property and boundary surveys are performed to help those who own property in a given area precisely define where their boundaries end and those of another property owner begin. Land surveys are commonly used to handle property disputes and similar issues, allowing for precise measurements and detailed reports that carry legal weight.

At Diamond Land Surveying, we’re proud to provide a variety of both commercial and residential surveyor services, from basic boundary surveys to construction staking, lot consolidation plats and many other areas. One term that you may hear some use within the world of properties and boundaries is “encroachment” – but you won’t hear it from our surveyors. Here are some basics on what this term means, why surveyors don’t use it, and the legal interplay at work here.

property encroachment terms surveyors

Encroachment Definition

For starters, let’s take a moment and briefly define what is meant when the term encroachment is used within the realm of property surveys or boundary markers. Generally speaking, it refers to any case where someone trespasses upon property, domain or real estate rights of another. And while “trespassing” in this case can refer to simply walking on a property, it may also refer to areas like extended properties, fences or other markers that “encroach” onto someone else’s property.

Surveyors, Not Lawyers

Now, as we noted above, you will not generally hear our property surveyors use the term encroachment on a regular basis. Why? The answer gets into some of the gaps between the physical collection of boundary data and the legal application of such data.

Property surveyors are here to perform the former service: Collect the data. We perform a physical inspection and identify all items or notable property factors, plus help you define specific boundary lines. Essentially, we help you understand all legal descriptions and conditions of the land.

We do not, however, get into determining the legal ownership of a given property or area. This is something that’s handled by attorneys, who get their raw information from us and then use it to make their arguments. While it’s common to hear an attorney use the term encroachment, then, it is not the place of a surveyor to make that sort of a judgement.

Terms Surveyors Use

Instead of encroachment, you’ll hear different terms from surveyors that might qualify – but again, this will be for an attorney to decide. Such terms include:

  • Overlap: When properties or items extend over or cover part of another property.
  • Hiatus: The area between two surveys whose deeds call out a common property line – but whose survey monuments do not support a shared line.
  • Gore: A strangely-shaped area of land, often a triangle, left between two tracks because of inaccuracies in a previous boundary survey.

For more on property encroachment and similar terms, or to learn about any of our property or land surveying services, speak to the staff at Diamond Land Surveying today.