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How to Determine Your Property Line
A Guide for City of Rockville Homeowners
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Why is it important to know your property line?
When buying a home in Maryland, part of the process involves receiving survey information about the boundary lines of the property. However, living on the property often can present less clear visions of property lines.
Among the issues that homeowners regularly face concern whether their fence, or a neighbor’s fence, is on the correct side of the property line; how far from the center line of the street is their property; and whether additions to the house—or added structures such as sheds—are the proper distance from the property line.
Fences and centerlines of the streets often provide a general idea of the location of a property line. However, they are not always accurate indicators. Fences sometimes are located on property lines, but they may have been erected well inside the line by the previous owner with the thought that it would make maintaining both sides of the fence easier. Sometimes property owners assume (incorrectly) that their lines extend to the same distance as their next-door neighbor’s line. On occasion, property lines are not straight. Lines on an arc can be hard to define.
Properties that border park or government lands also can present situations that are not correctly interpreted by homeowners. Some homeowners assume that since the adjacent park land will not be developed, it is okay to extend fences, or erect sheds, on that land. This assumption could lead to serious consequences for homeowners.
Homeowners whose fences are well within their boundary line must realize they are still responsible for their entire property, such as the maintenance of trees that are outside the fence but on their property.
Knowing the boundary lines of your property could help you avoid: 1) Being forced to alter or remove structures that extend over the property line; 2) Fines; 3) Lawsuits.
Examples of situations when it is important to know property line locations
A survey will locate existing property corners or set new survey pins/property markers. Property markers/survey pins typically are iron pipes a half-inch in diameter and 18 inches in length. Sometimes they are topped with a plastic cap identifying the surveyor’s license number. They usually are not exposed and are found several inches below the surface.
Property markers/survey pins can help locate the property’s boundaries. The location of these markers is usually shown on your subdivision plat. Subdivision plats of properties in Rockville are available for review or purchase in the Public Works Department at City Hall. Plats also are available at Montgomery County’s department of land records and online at www.plats.net.
Plats show the shape and dimensions of lots and where surveying pins/pipes were placed on the ground in a subdivision. House location surveys show the location of a house and any improvements on the lot/property.
For more information, call 240-314-8704.
Record Plat House Location Survey
A recorded subdivision plat/record plat is a map that shows lots, blocks, parcels, easements and right-of-ways. It indicates where iron pins/pipes were to be set as property markers.
House Location Survey
House Location Survey
A house location survey shows the location of a house on a lot, and includes all lot improvements (i.e. shed, deck, fences, etc.) It also will show what property markers were set/found. Homebuyers usually are given a copy of the house location survey at settlement.
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